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THIS book aims to set "before students beginning the study 
of Ancient History a sufficient amount of source material to 
illustrate the important facts mentioned in every good text- 
book. There is also a clear intent to give the reader some 
taste of the notable literary flavor pervading the histories 
of Greece and Rome. It is a distinct loss of an opportunity 
to pass from the study (e.g.) of the Persian Wars and to gain 
no first-hand acquaintance with Herodotus ; or, again, of the 
Roman Emperors and to read no typical passages of Tacitus. 
This compilation has been prepared for constant use along 
with some standard text-book, and various matters of marked 
historical importance, as the Servian Constitution of Rome, 
have been deliberately omitted, because most school his- 
tories state the fact sufficiently well, and little is added by 
reproducing the arid statements in Livy. On the other 
hand, many tales have been included, like the story of Tlie 
Ring of Polycrates or of Cincinnatus catted from the Plow, 
which condensed histories may well slight but which afford 
refreshing illustrations of the ancient life or the ancient 

Comparing the compass of this work with the wide extent 
of available literature, it is evident that a very large num- 
ber of desirable passages have been perforce omitted. There 
are practically no quotations from Cicero, because Cicero is 
a writer many students will earn a passing acquaintance 
with in the schools ; again, certain highly significant pas- 
sages (e.g. Thucydides's version of the " Funeral Oration " 
by Pericles) are omitted, because they are quoted in so many 


school histories. There are no quotations from JEschylus 
or Sophocles, because those paladins of tragedy were, after 
all, poets and not historians. The compiler has been forced 
continually to exercise his best judgment. He is entirely 
aware how fallible that judgment may have been. 

To meet the requirements for a work covering the Old 
Orient and the Early Middle Ages (to 800 A.D.) sections 
have been added covering these topics, but no attempt has 
been made to have them so long as the chapters relating 
strictly to Greece and Rome. Even for the " classical " 
history itself, far more material came to hand for some 
periods than for others. Desirable selections for the Ifirst 
Age of Rome are scanty, while again readings on the First 
Century of the Empire come in bewildering profusion. As 
a rule, however, those epochs for which one has the most 
material are, in turn, the best worth studying, and no apol- 
ogy is made for the lack of proportion in the length of some 
of the chapters. 

This volume has been prepared for immature students : 
it is therefore stripped of the learned notes, citations, refer- 
ences, etc., which are rightly demanded by the erudite. The 
notes and introductions have a single end in view, to 
make the selections comprehensible to readers with little 
experience in Ancient History problems. Out of consid- 
eration for this audience, also, the pages have not been dis- 
figured by frequent indications of omission, where passages 
of the ancient writer have been stricken out in' the interests 
of brevity. In every case, however, where, to facilitate con- 
densation, words not of the original author have been sub- 
stituted,, they are always inclosed in brackets [ ], to guard 
against misconception. 

In compiling a work of this kind a great number of trans- 
lations have been put under requisition. In many cases 
these have been diligently compared with the originals, and 
often such alterations have been made in the wording as to 


render the present author largely responsible for the form 
here given. This is entirely the case (except with Plutarch) 
where the translation appears without being ascribed to any 
particular translator. It has seemed presumptuous to en- 
deavor to improve the incomparable versions of Herodotus 
by Rawlinson, or of Thucydides by Jowett, but many of the 
familiar Bohn translations offend by a stilted pedantry which 
completely destroys their literary value. To avoid frequent 
repetition, it may be said here that the numerous extracts 
from Herodotus are always after Rawlinson, and from Plu- 
tarch after Dryden (revised by Clough). To the various 
authors and publishers of copyrighted books from which 
excerpts are taken, who have generously given permission 
to copy, all thanks are here extended. Specific acknowl- 
edgements are due here to Charles Scribner*s Sons for per* 
mission to make use of matter in Hastings^ " Dictionary of 
the Bible " (5-volume edition) and in Breasted's "History 
of Egypt": to the History Department of the University 
of Pennsylvania for matter taken from their "Historical 
Reprints " ; to Dr. Horace White for excerpts from his 
" Appian " ; to Professor F. W. Kelsey for extracts from 
his edition of Mau's "Pompeii " 5 to Professor G. H. Palmer 
for his " Hymn of Cleanthes" ; and to the friends of the late 
Professor H. B. Foster for passages from his u Cassius Dio." 

The dates given in the running headlines are often highly 
approximate, especially for the earlier periods of history ; 
and should not be memorized without careful comparison 
with the text and with various standard authorities. 

In ,the preparation of this work the compiler has received 
generous assistance from many quarters, but particularly 
from Professor W. M. West of the University of Minnesota, 
who, besides writing the Introduction, has at all times given 
most friendly counsel out of a wide, practical experience, 
and who has afforded active assistance upon the work both 
during its inception and its final development. Hearty 


thanks axe also due to Mr. Richard A. Newhall, formerly 
Assistant in History in the University of Minnesota, who 
went over the entire manuscript most faithfully, checking 
up all important references and otherwise making it useful 
to historical students. 




DR. DAVIS lias placed high school teachers of history 
tinder an obligation which they mil be quick to recognize. 
This book takes rank by itself. There are excellent " source 
books " in Greek and Roman history adapted to their own 
valuable work. But this is not a source book, in the usual 
sense. Fitly, it calls itself Readings. It unfolds a pano- 
rama of ancient life etched, drawn, painted, caricatured, 
by contemporaries. No great phase of that life is neglected, 
and I take this opportunity to testify my special delight in 
the attractive presentation of two important epochs often 
slighted, the Hellenic World after Alexander and the Ro- 
man Imperial World. It was, a happy adaptation of work- 
man to work that persuaded Dr. Davis to this task. His 
instinct for dramatic story and striking situation, and his 
faultless literary sense, have never, I believe, served better 
use. The boy or girl who once gets hold on the volume is 
sure to breathe in more of the atmosphere of the ancient 
world than from any possible study of a conventional text- 
book. Indeed, the Readings will lend needed light and 
color to any text-book. In my judgment, a high school 
class in Ancient History should have this book, not merely 
in the library for occasional reference, but constantly in the 
hands of each student. If that is arranged, most other 
"library work" may, perhaps, be omitted by a first-year 
class without serious loss, providing the following year in 
Modern History is so planned as to put emphasis on library 
reference. Not all varieties of historical training can be 
given with equal stress in one year certainly not in a first 



year. This volume makes it possible to do the most deeir. 
able things for that year more easily and more effectively 
than ever before. 

Now as to some of those things and how to do them. I 
hesitate to speak as a dogmatic pedagogue ; but this is just 
the matter on which I am particularly requested to speak in 
this Introduction. Concrete details depend largely upon 
the articulation with the regular text-book, and must vary 
with the text used. I must confine myself to a few general 

1. The volume is not designed for "hard" study, to be 
tested scrupulously by minute questioning : it is meant for 
reading. At the same time, it is planned so that, with a 
little thought by the teacher, it may be a daily companion 
to any standard text in Ancient History. Eeadings should 
usually be assigned for a group of days ahead (two days to 
five), to allow for variation in arrangement between this 
book and the text; and students should then be expected 
and helped to go back at the proper times from passages 
in the text to the appropriate passages in the Readings. 
They should be taught to look for and to utilize Dr. Davis's 
suggestions at the head of each "number " as to the most 
essential things to look for in the extract. And almost 
daily, while the correct habit is forming, the teacher will 
find opportunity to ask, " What further light on this do you 
find in the Readings ? " Did you get that idea from your 
text-book or from a.* contemporary' authority ?" "Does 
the passage from Thucydides in the Readings support or 
weaken this statement of your text ? " Such practice should 
be continued and varied until the student instinctively turns 
from text to Readings and back again, supplementing each 
by the other, in his consideration of each topic. 

'2. Now and then a suitable passage (not too long) may 
even be used in the way more peculiar to "source books" 
proper, for painstaking and exhaustive study, to establish 


conclusions in advance of the text, or to disclose evidence 
for positions there taken. Eor this purpose, the teacher 
may need at first to dictate searching questions. For a few 
typical documents Dr. Davis has supplied such questions; 
but the selection of documents to be used in this way will 
necessarily vary with, the text-book. 2sow and then the 
class may be required to write questions upon a document; 
and, still better, a student may prepare himself to question 
the class orally first, of course, communicating to the in- 
structor the points he intends to bring out. 

3. When the survey of an important period or topic has 
been completed (Greek life in the days of Pericles, for in- 
stance), it will sometimes be well to spend a day or more 
in re-reading the Readings, with a class exercise to bring 
out points found there and not previously dwelt upon. 

4. The historical introductions by Dr. Davis should, of 
course, be compared carefully with the corresponding 
matter in the regular text ; and any divergences of opinion 
will afford convenient occasion for reference to larger stand- 
ard authorities by an individual or by the class. 

5. The student should certainly acquire some discriminat- 
ing sense as to why one source differs from another in his- 
torical value or reliability. He can appreciate easily why, 
(e.g.) Vol. L 44 (contemporary statement) is better author- 
ity for the facts it recites than is Vol. I. 51, which has 
tradition or recollection merely for the facts it states. And 
such discrimination is susceptible of considerable develop- 
ment. Moreover, it is quite possible for the student to 
comprehend that even where a contemporary's judgment is 
erroneous as to fact) it is still often a historical fact itself 
of great significance. In this connection, to all cautions by 
Dr. Davis in his introductions against taking an opinion as 
an infallible authority merely because it is contemporary 
and old the teacher will need to add frequent reminder as 
to the partisan or personal or class bias of many of the 


writers quoted. It may be driven slowly into the everyday 
consciousness of the class that Homeric bards sang to chief- 
tains for largess, and were glad to gratify such auditors 
by raising a laugh at the expense of the annoying Thersites, 
who, in real life, may that day have bested the chief in the 
Assembly; that Aristophanes and Juvenal were ancient 
" muckrakers," with far less zeal for accurate statement 
than have their successors who trouble our society in the 
monthly magazines ; that Cicero was a complacent and de- 
lightful old "standpatter," and Tacitus a preacher who 
heightened the virtues of other peoples in order to darken 
the vices of his own land ; that most professed historians 
were more eager for a good story than for scientific accu- 
racy ; and that, during all time, democracy has had its his- 
tory written chiefly by its enemies since literature has 
belonged so largely to the aristocrats. 

6. I close with a suggestion, hardly needed, of perhaps 
the finest use of the volume. A true teacher ought to find 
in every class some students before whom these extracts 
may be dropped as delectable bait, to lure them on to high 
enjoyment of Plutarch and the Odyssey and Marcus Aure- 
lius in their entirety. 

May, 1912. 


Ancient Egypt 


Introduction 1 

1. A Hymn to the Nile. Papyrus 1 

2. Illustrations of the Views and Ambitions of Egyptian 

Kings. Inscriptions 4 

3. A Letter from the Egyptian Governor of Palestine an- 

nouncing a Revolt. Papyrus 6 

4. Rameses II and his Army. George Ebers ... 7 

5. The Residence of a Great Egyptian Nobleman. George 

Ebers . ' 9 

6. The City of Tanis in the Delta of the Nile. Papyrus . 11 

7. An Egyptian Bazaar. Maspero 12 

8. Life of the Poor in Old Egypt. Maspero ... 14 

9. Extracts from the Precepts of Ptah-Hotep. Papyrus . 15 

10. The Style of Beka the Ethics of an Egyptian Noble- 

man. Inscription 18 

Babylonia and Assyria 

Introduction 20 

11. Part of Inscription of Tiglath-Pileser I, King of As- 

syria. Inscription 20 

12. How Sennacherib waged War on HezeMah, King of 

Judah. Inscription 23 

13. An Inscription of Nebuchadnezzar. Inscription . . 24 

14. A Denunciation of Nineveh. The Bible .... 27 

15. Letter of an Assyrian Physician reporting upon a -Pa- 

tient. Clay Tablet Writing 29 




16. Babylonish Beliefs in Omens by Eclipses. Clay Tablet 

Writing 30 

17. How Archeologists secure One of our Oldest Dates. 

Inscription 31 

18. An Assyrian City. Maspero 32 

19. An Assyrian Palace. Maspero .... . .34 

20. Selections from the Code of Hammurabi. Clay Tablet 

Writing 35 

21. A Babylonian Lawsuit relating to a Jew. Clay Tablet 

Writing 39 

22. An Akkadian Hymn to the Setting Sun. Clay Tablet 

Writing 40 

23. The Assyrian Story of the Creation. Clay Tablet 

Writing 41 

24. Babylonish Prayers and Psalms. Clay Tablet Writing . 43 

The Persian Empire 
Introduction 45 

25. How Cyrus took Babylon. Clay Tablet Writing . . 45 

26. A Jewish Utterance concerning Cyrus. The Bible . 47 

27. The Great Inscription of Darius at Behistun. Inscrip- 

tion 48 

28. The Persians' Devotion to their King. Herodotus . 54 

29. A Sermon attributed to Zoroaster. Zend-Avesta . . 55 

30. The Zoroastrian Story of the Judgment of the Soul. 

Zend-Avesta 57 

31. Customs of the Persians. Herodotus .... 58 

Earliest Greece 
Introduction 62 

32. The Early Cretans. Hawes 62 

33. The Homeric Assembly. The Iliad .... 65 

34. The Episode of Dolon : a Typical Homeric Episode. The 

Iliad 71 

35. The Shield of Achilles. The Iliad 73 



36. Odysseus's Opinion as to Married Happiness. Odyssey 77 

37. The Palace of Menelaus at Sparta. The Odyssey . . 77 

38. A Farm Laborer in Homeric Times. The Odyssey . 79 

39. Advice to Farmers and on Navigation. The Hesiod . 81 


The Early Centuries of Historic Greece 
Introduction . 84 

40. An Early Hymn to Apollo. Homeric Hymns . . 85 

41. How Glaucus tried to tempt the Delphic Oracle. 

Herodotus * . , . 86 

42. Croesus and the Delphic Oracle. Herodotus 88 

43. Delphi and the Amphictyons. Strabo .... 90 
44* A Description of Olympia in the Days of its Glory. 

Pausanias 94 

45. The Teachings of the Early Greek Sages upon Religion 

and Morality. Collected by Felton. .... 98 

46. How Syracuse was Founded. Strabo .... 99 

47. The Colony of Naucratis in Egypt. Herodotus . . 101 

48. Theognis the Poet Laments the Misrule in Megara. 

Theognis 102 

49. Lycurgus's Reforms in Sparta. Plutarch . . . 103 

50. The Spartan Discipline for Youths. Plutarch . .107 

51. Solon and Croesus. Herodotus Ill 

52. The Ring of Polycrates. Herodotus . - . .114 

53. "Harmodius and Aristogeiton," the Patriotic Song of 

Athens. Athenian Popular Song 117 

54. The Ancient Constitution of Athens. Aristotle . .118 

55. The Reforms of Clisthenes. Aristotle .... 120 

56. How Athens was given a Democratic Organization, by 

Clisthenes. Herodotus 13< 

The Peril from Persia 
Introduction 130 

57. Aristagoras at Sparta. Herodotus 131 

58. Aristagoras at Athens and what came of It. Herodotus 134 



59. How the Persians came to Marathon. Herodotus . 137 

60. The Battle of Marathon. Herodotus .... 139 

61. Aristides and his Opposition to Themistocles. Plutarch 144 

62. How Athens resolved to face the Persians. Herodotus . 150 

63. The Contingents and Nations in Xerxes' Army. 

Herodotus 155 

64. How the Hellespont was Bridged. Herodotus . . 158 

65. How the Greek Towns were forced to entertain Xerxes' 

Army. Herodotus . 163 

66. How Xerxes dealt with the Greek Spies. Herodotus . 164 

67. How Leonidas held the Pass of Thermopylae. Herodo- 

tus . 165 

68. How Leonidas and his Band perished at Thermopylae. 

Herodotus 170 

69. The Evacuation of Attica. Herodotus .... 175 

70. How Themistocles brought on the Battle of Salamis. 

Herodotus 177 

71. The Battle of Salamis. Herodotus 185 

72. The Answer the Athenians gave the Persian Envoy 

before the Battle of Plata. Herodotus ... 190 

73. The Battle of Plataea. Herodotus 191 

The Golden Age of Athens 

Introduction 199 

74. The Manners and Personal Traits of Cimon. Plutarch 199 

75. The Athenian Empire at its Height. Thucydides . 202 

76. How Pericles beautified Athens. Plutarch. . . . 207 

77. The Corinthians contrast the Athenian and Spartan 

Temperaments. Thucydides 212 

78. Thucydides's Estimate of Pericles and his Policy. 

Thucydides 214 

79. Constitution of Erythra. Inscription .... 215 

80. The Relations of Athens with Phaselis. Inscription . 217 

81. How the Peloponnesian War began at Platsea. Thu- 

cydides 218 

82. The Affair of Pylos. Thucydides 221 

83. The Sailing of the Athenian Armament for Sicily. Thu- 

cydide* , ... 226 



84. The Last Fight in the Harbor of Syracuse. Thucydides 228 

85. How the Athenian Prisoners at Syracuse were Treated. 

Thucydides 231 

86. The Battle of JSgospotami. Xenophon . . . 232 

87. A Meeting of the Ecclesia. Euripides . . . . 234 

88. Habits of Athenian Jurors. Aristophanes . . 237 
.89. Anecdotes about Socrates. Diogenes Laertius . . 240 

90. Socrates's Method of Showing up Ignorance. Plato . 243 

91. Socrates's Apology for his Life. Plato .... 245 
192. Socrates's Argument that Death is no Evil. Plato . 249 

93. The Old and the New Style of Education. Aris- 

tophanes 251 

94. A Picture of Greek School Life. Herondas . . .255 

95. The Will of the Philosopher Plato. Diogenes Laertius 257 

96. The Healing of Plutus. Aristophanes .... 258 

97. Pindar's Picture of the Elysium of the Bighteous, 

Pindar 261 

98. Hippocrates and Greek Medical Science. After Felton 262 

99. Xenophon's Picture of an Ideal Household. Xenophon 265 

From -aSgospotami to Chaeroneia 
Introduction 272 

100. How Lysias escaped from the "Thirty." Lysias . 272 

101. Traits and Character of Epaminondas. Cornelius 

Nepos 276 

102. The Battle of Leuctra. Xenophon . . . 279 

103. How Philip of Macedon began his Reign. Justin . 284 

104. How Demosthenes became an Orator. Plutarch . 286 

105. How Demosthenes tried to arouse his fellow Atheni- 

ans against Philip. Demosthenes .... 292 

106. The Battle of Chseroneia. Diodorus Siculus . . 293 

107. Alexander's Tribute to the Transformation Philip 

wrought in Macedonia. Arrian .... 296 


Alexander, Amalgamator of East and West 
Introduction 298 

108. The Youth of Alexander the Great. Plutarch . . 298 



109. How Alexander drew up his Phalanx. Anton . 304 
HO. Alexander's Answer to the Petition of Darius for 

Peace. Arrian 305 

111. The Founding of Alexandria by Alexander the Great. 

Arrian 307 

112. Darius's Army at Arbela. Arrian . 308 

113. Alexander before the Battle of Arbela. Arrian . . 309 

114. The Battle of Arbela or Gaugamela. Arrian . . 311 

115. How the News of Alexander's Conquests affected the 

Greeks. JSschines 314 

116. The Murder of Clitus by Alexander. Arrian . . 315 

117. How Alexander tried to commingle East and West. 

Arrian 317 

118. Aman's Sketch of the Character of Alexander. Arrian 320 

The Hellenistic Age 

Introduction 322 

119. How Elephants fought in Hellenistic Armies. PolyUus 322 

120. The City of Antioch. Strabo 324 

121. A Description of Alexandria. Strabo .... 325 

122. The Great Spectacle and Procession of Ptolemy Phila- 

delphus. AthencBUs 329 

123. The Great Ship of Hieron, King of Syracuse. Athe- 

nau* 332 

124. The Hymn of Cleanthes. Cleanthes .... 335 

125. How Aratus took Sicyon from the Tyrant Nicocles. 

Plutarch 337 


Greek Money and Measures . 343 

List of Modern Translations Used 344 

Select Critical Bibliography 346 

Biographical Notes of the Ancient Authors Quoted . . 353 





The study of ancient history naturally begins with an examina- 
tion of the monuments and records of Old Egypt. Whether Egypt 
or Babylonia really presents to us the earlier civilization is difficult 
to determine, nor is the question one of great importance. Certain 
it seems that in both of these great river valleys something approxi- 
mating civilized life existed possibly as early as 5000 B.C., although 
scholars are not agreed as to whether we have any actual remains 
from such a remote period. It should be remembered that the de- 
velopment of Oriental culture was that of a slowly-growing plant, 
and centuries of preparation surely intervened between the original 
settlement of the Nile valley and the production of the first archae- 
ological remains that have survived for us. 

A large part of the evidence especially for Egyptian life is pic- 
tonal, bas-reliefs, tomb pictures, etc., which cannot well be 
reproduced in a book like this (see 4). Again, it should be re- 
membered that the literary style of the earliest folk which com- 
mitted its thoughts to writing is likely to appear highly grotesque 
and stilted to moderns. This makes many of the Egyptian inscrip- 
tions difficult reading even in good translations. The following 
extracts will at least give 'a passing idea of the literary products of 
the Egyptian priests, who probably had most bookish matters en- 
tirely in their hands. 


Papyrus, Records of the Past" * (2d series),, p. 48 
Egypt, as Herodotus the Greek historian says, "is wholly the 
gift of the Nile." Except for the annual inundation the country 
l This is a series of books edited by Professor A. H. Sayce and published 
in London. It should not be confused with the monthly magazine of the 
same name published in Washington. 



would be as hopelessly desert as the lands about it. The Egyptians 
quite naturally recognized their debt to the wondrous river, the 
bounty whereof was all the more marvelous because the sources of 
the stream and the real causes of the inundation were practically 
unknown to them. This feeling of gratitude is expressed in the 
very ancient hymn here quoted. 

Adoration to the Nile ! 
Hail to thee, O Nile ! 

Who manifestest thyself over this land, 

Who cometh to give life to Egypt ! 
Mysterious is thy issuing forth from the darkness, 
On this day whereon it is celebrated ! 

Watering the orchards created by Ra 1 

To cause all the cattle to live 
Thou givest the earth to drink, inexhaustible one ! 

Loving the fruits of Seb 2 

And the first fruits of Nepera 
Thou causest the workshops of Ptah 8 to prosper. 

Lord of the fish, during the inundation, 

No bird alights on the crops ! 
Thou createst corn, thou bringest forth the barley, 
Assuring perpetuity to the temples. 
If thou ceasest thy toil and thy work, 
Then all that exists is in anguish. 
If the gods suffer in heaven, 
Then the faces of men waste away. . . . 4 

If the Nile smiles the earth is joyous, 
Every stomach is full of rejoicing, 
. Every spine is happy, 
Every jawbone crushes its food. . . 

1 The Egyptian sun god. 3 Seb " is the Earth. 

2 The master craftsman of the gods. 

8 The gods no less than mankind are imagined as dependent on the Nile. 

1500 B.C.] HYMN TO THE NILE 3 

A festal song is raised for thee on the harp, 

With the accompaniment of the hand. 

The young men and thy children acclaim thee 

And prepare their long exercises. 

Thou art the august ornament of the earth, 
Letting thy bark advance before men, 
Lifting up the heart of women in labor, 
And loving the multitude of the flocks. 

When thou shinest in the royal city, 
The rich man is sated with good things, 
The poor man even disdains the lotus, 1 
All that is produced is of the choicest, 
All the plants exist for thy children. 
If thou hast refused to grant nourishment, 
The dwelling is silent, devoid of all that is good, 
The country falls exhausted. 

inundation of the Nile, 
Offerings are made unto thee, 
Oxen are immolated to thee, 
Great festivals are instituted for thee, 

Birds are sacrificed to thee, 
Gazelles are taken for thee in the mountain, 

Pure flames are prepared for thee. . * . 

Nile, come and prosper ! 
thou who makest men to live through his flocks, 
Likewise his flocks through his orchards, 

Come and prosper, come, 

Nile, come and prosper! 

i Herodotus (II, 92) tells how the Egyptians eat the flower and root ol 
the lotas. 



Adapted from Breasted, "History of Egypt," passim 
The kings of Egypt were practically gods in the eyes of their 
subjects ; in theory their power was absolute. In practice they 
seem to have been much hampered by a powerful priesthood and a 
self-assertive nobility. The utterances quoted from their inscrip- 
tions show that while some kings delighted in conquest, others took 
quite as much pleasure in promoting the peace and prosperity of 
their people. The Instructions of Amenemhat I to his son show 
forth the terrible isolation of the "divine" Pharaoh, and the ingrat- 
itude and treason which he had ever to fear was lurking under 
infinite Up service. 

By Amenemhat I (12 dynasty, about 2000 B.C.) 

I was one who made the grain to grow, and who loved the 
god of the harvest. In every valley did the Nile greet me. 
In my years none had hunger and none had thirst. In peace 
lived the people, and their talk was of me because of the 
[good] deeds which I wrought. 

From Amenemhat L Instructions to his Son 

Hearken to that which I tell thee, that thou mayest be 
king over the earth and ruler over its countries, and thy 
prosperity may increase. Harden thy heart against thy 
underlings. The people obey him whom they hold in fear. 
. . . Take no brother to thy heart, cherish no friend, keep 
no intimates * there is no end to them. When thou sleep- 
est, still be on thy guard, for a man has no people [to defend 
him] when the evil day approaches. I gave to the beggar; 
I sustained the orphan ; I was gracious to the humble as well 
as to the mighty but he who ate of my bounty turned rebel: 
he to whom I gave my hand turned and smote me [literally 
"aroused fear therein"]. 

i The king had evidently suffered from gross ingratitude. 


[In a more complacent vein are the following utterances of 
Thutmose (or Thothmes) III, a mighty warrior ; and of Barneses 
III, who was among the last of the kings to keep up the best 
traditions of Egyptian royalty.] 

From an inscription recording the conquests of Thutmosis III 
(about 1450 B.C.) 

[The high god Amon 1 is assumed to be addressing the king 

I have come, giving thee the mastery over the men of Asia. 
Captive hast thou taken the chiefs of the Asiatics of Retenu : 
I have made them behold thy glory arrayed in thy panoply, 
When thou hast taken their weapons in the chariot. . . . 
I have come giving thee the mastery over the Islanders. 
The dwellers afar in the vast sea hear thy thunders ; 
As an avenger I have made them behold thy glory, 
An avenger rising above his slain victims. 

[And in like manner he boasts of conquering many other lands.] 

From the Inscription recording the Reign and Deeds of Barneses 
III (about 1175 B.C.) 

[After telling of the restoration of the public peace following a 
period of confusion.] 

I laid taxes on the people every year. Every town was 
enrolled and paid in its tribute. ... I made the woman of 
Egypt to go with uncovered ears, 3 to go whithersoever she 
would, for no stranger, no wayfarer would molest her. I 
made the infantry and chariot-force to stay in their 
homes, . . . they had no fear, for there was no enemy from 
Cush [Ethiopia] ; none from Syria. ... I sustained the 
whole land, whether foreigners, common folk, or citizens 

1 Official liead of the Egyptian pantheon and the great national deity. 

2 Perhaps the meaning is that she could safely uncover her valuable 


male and female. The man in misfortune I delivered and 
restored to breath. If he had a powerful oppressor, I de- 
livered him. To each and all I gave security in his town. 
I dealt with others justly at my tribunal [literally " hall of 
petition"]. I caused the land that had been wasted to be 
resettled. The country was well content while I reigned. 


Papyrus, " Records of the Past " (2d series), vol. V, p. 72 

Before the Hebrews were fairly settled in southern Palestine the 
country seems to have been for quite a period under Egyptian 
lordship. The following letter from the governor, announcing the 
peril in which the Egyptian garrison in the whole region and 
especially at Jerusalem has been placed by a general revolt of the 
natives, possesses not a little interest for Biblical students. 
The approximate date of the letter seems to be about 1375 B.C. 

To the King my Lord : Thus says Ebed-tob, thy servant, 
who prostrates himself at the feet of my Lord the King 
seven times seven. 

The King is aware of the deed that Malchiel and Suarda- 
tum have done. They have marshaled the forces of the 
city of Gezer against the country of my Lord the King : and 
with these the hosts of the cities of Gath and of Keilah. 
They have occupied the territory of the city of Kabbah. 
The King's country has gone over to these [hostile] confed- 
erates. And even at this moment the city of Jerusalem . . . 
belonging to the King is placed in hostility to the locality of 
the men of the city of Keilah [who have reyolted]. 

May the King hearken to Ebed-tob his servant, and may 
he dispatch troops, and may ho restore his country to his 
royal dominions. But if no troops arrive the King's country 
is [surely gone over to the Confederates]. The deed is the 
deed of Suardatum and Malchiel. , . . 

May the King send help to his country ! 

1250 B.C.] RAMESBS II 7 

George Ebers, "TTarda," chap. XXXVHI 

So much of our evidence for Egyptian life and thought depends 
upon the pictures with which the walls of their temples, tombs, 
and palaces were covered that a correct impression of their civili- 
zation cannot be given by quoting from their literary remains 
alone. An able German scholar, gifted with a scientific imagina- 
tion has in a novel, "Uarda" tried with much success to 
reconstruct the life of the days of Rameses II. His descriptions 
have the double advantage of vividness and accuracy, and may be 
accepted as substantially correct. 

[The king and his army are represented as being in camp in 
Northern Syria the night before a great battle with the Hittites.] 

The soldiers had not gone to rest as usual. Heavily armed 
troops, who bore in one hand a shield of half a man's height, 
and in the other a scimitar, or a short, pointed sword, 
guarded the camp, where numerous fires burned, round 
which crowded the resting warriors. . . The servants of 
the chariot guard were fully occupied, as the chariots had 
for the most part been brought over the mountains in de- 
tached pieces -on the backs of pack-horses and asses, and 
now had to be put together again, and to have their wheels 

On the eastern side of the camp stood a canopy, under 
which the standards were kept, and there numbers of priests 
were occupied with their office of blessing the warriors, offer- 
ing sacrifices, and singing hymns and litanies. . . . From 
time to time also the deep roar of the king's war lions might 
be heard. Those beasts followed him into the fight, and 
now were howling for food, as they had been kept fasting 
to excite their fury. 

In the midst of the camp stood the king's tent, surrounded 
by foot and chariot guards. The auxiliary troops were en- 
camped in divisions according to their nationality, and be- 


tween them the Egyptian legions of heavy-armed soldiers 
and archers. Here might be seen the black Ethiopian with 
woolly, matted hair, in which a few feathers were stuck, 
the handsome, well-proportioned " son of the desert " from 
the sandy Arabian shore of the Red Sea, who performed 
his wild war dance, flourishing his lance with a peculiar 
wriggle of his hips, pale Sardinians, with metal helmets 
and heavy swords, light-colored Libyans with tattooed 
arms and ostrich feathers on their heads, and brown, 
bearded Arabs, worshipers , of the stars, inseparable from 
their horses, and armed, some with lances, and some with 

In the midst of the royal tents was a lightly constructed 
temple with the statues of the gods of Thebes, and of the 
king's forefathers; clouds of incense rose in front of it, 
for the priests were engaged from the eve of the battle un- 
til it was over, in prayers and offerings to Amon, the king 
of the gods, to Necheb, the goddess of victory, and to 
Menth, the god of war. 

The large pavilion in which Barneses and his suite were 
taking their evening meal was more brilliantly lighted than 
the others ; it was a covered tent, a long square in shape, 
and all around it were colored lamps. [It was watched by 
a special picked guard of swordsmen. . . .] 

The walls and slanting roof of this quickly built and 
moveable banqueting hall consisted of a strong, impene- 
trable carpet stuff, woven at Thebes, and afterward dyed 
purple at Tanis by the Phoenicians. The cedar wood pillars 
of the tent were covered with gold, and the ropes which se- 
cured the light erection to the tent pegs were twisted of 
silk, and of thin threads of silver. 

Seated round four tables, more than a hundred men were 
taking the evening meal : at three of them the generals of 
the army, the chief priests, and councilors sat on light 
stools ; at the fourth, and at some distance from the others, 


were the princes of the blood; and the king himself sat 
apart at a high table on a throne supported by gilt figures 
of Asiatic prisoners in chains. His table and throne stood 
in a low dais, covered with panthers' skins ; but even with- 
out thaty Barneses would have towered above his compan- 
ions. His form was powerful, and there was a commanding 
aspect in his bearded face, and in the high brow, crowned 
with a golden diadem adorned with the heads of two 
Uraeus snakes, wearing the crowns of Upper and Lower 
Egypt. A broad collar of precious stones covered half his 
breast, and the lower half was concealed by a scarf or belt, 
and his bare limbs were adorned with bracelets. . . . Be- 
hind the Pharaoh stood a man younger than himself who 
gave him his wine cup after first touching it with his own lips. 
This was the king's charioteer and favorite companion. 


George Ebers, "Uarda," chap. VIEI 

In " Uarda " we have the following reconstruction of the resi- 
dence of a high Egyptian official. . There were undoubtedly many 
such mansions in the thirteenth century B.C. 

[The mansion is supposed to be near Thebes, in the days of 
Barneses II, the most powerful of the Egyptian kings.] 

It was evening . . . and the coolness which had succeeded 
the heat of the summer's day tempted the citizens out into 
the air in front of their doors or on the roofs and turrets of 
their houses ; or to the tavern tables, where they listened to 
the tales of the professional story-tellers, while they re- 
freshed themselves with beer, wine, and the sweet juice of 
fruits. Many simple folk squatted in circular groups on 
the ground, and joined in the burden of songs which were 
led by an appointed singer to the sound of a tabor and 

To the south of the temple of Amon stood the king's 


palace, and near it, in more or less extensive gardens, rose 
the houses of the great nobles, among which one was dis- 
tinguished by splendor and size ; that of Paaker the king's 
"Pioneer" [a high arm j officer], . . . 

The gate giving entrance to his plot of ground through 
the surrounding wall, was disproportionately, almost osten- 
tatiously, high and decorated with various paintings. On 
the right hand and on the left two cedar trunks rose as 
masts to carry standards ; he had had them felled for the 
purpose on Lebanon, and forwarded by ship to Pelusium 
on the northeast coast of Egypt. Thence they were con- 
veyed by the Nile to Thebes. 

On passing through the gate one entered a wide, paved 
courtyard at the sides of which walks extended, closed in 
at the back, and with roofs supported on slender painted 
wooden columns. Here stood the pioneer's horses and 
chariots, here dwelt his slaves, and here the necessary store 
of produce for the month's requirements was kept. 

In the further wall of this store court was a very high 
doorway, that led into a large garden with rows of well- 
tended trees and trellised vines, clumps of shrubs, flowers, 
and beds of vegetables. Palms, sycamores, and acacia trees, 
figs, pomegranates, and jasmine throve here particularly 
well . . . and in the large tank in the midst there was 
never any lack of water for the beds and the tree roots, as it 
was always supplied by two canals, into which wheels 
turned by oxen poured water, night and day, from the Nile 

On the right side of this plot rose the one-storied dwelling 
house, its length stretching into distant perspective, as it 
consisted of a single row of living and bed rooms. Almost 
every room had its own door that opened into a veranda 
supported by colored wooden columns, and which extended 
the whole length of the garden side of the house. [Behind 
this joined a row of storerooms.] 

1250 B.C.] THE CITY OF TANIS 11 

In a chamber of strong masonry lay safely locked up the 
vast riches accumulated by Paaker's father and by himself, 
in gold and silver rings, vessels and figures of beasts. Nor 
was there a lack of bars of copper and of precious stones, 
particularly of lapis lazuli and malachite. 

In the midst of the garden stood a handsomely decorated 
kiosk, 1 and a chapel with images of the gods ; in the back- 
ground stood the statues of Paaker's ancestors in the form 
of Osiris 2 wrapped in mummy clothes. The faces, which 
were likenesses, alone distinguished these statues from each 

The left side of the storeyard was veiled in gloom, yet 
the moonlight revealed numerous dark figures clothed only 
in aprons, slaves of Paaker, who squatted in groups of five 
or six, or lay near one another on thin mats of palm bast, 
their hard beds. 

Near the gate a few lamps lighted up a group of dusky 
men, the officers of Paaker's household, who wore short shirt- 
shaped white garments, and who sat on a carpet round 
a table hardly two feet high. They were eating their even- 
ing meal, consisting of a roasted antelope and large fiat cakes 
of bread. Slaves waited on them and filled their earthern 
cups with yellow beer ; while the steward cut up the great 
roast on the table, 


Papyrus, " Records of the Past " (1st series), vol. VI, pp. 13-16 

The city of Tanis, an important place in the Nile delta, was 
built by Barneses II (reigned about 1292 to 1225 B.C.), and is 
thus described by a contemporary Egyptian in the so-called 
" Letter of Pambesa." It is worth noticing what a traveler in 
the thirteenth century B.O. thought proper to record as of interest 

1 A summerhouse peculiar to the Orient. 

2 Upon being beatified in the next world, departed worthies were sup- 
posed to be identified with the god Osiris. 


to his correspondents. At the time he wrote, Egypt was in the 
flood time of its prosperity, and possibly never before or after did 
life " pass in plenty and abundance " in the land, more than in the 
days of Barneses IL 

So I arrived at the city of " Kameses-Meriamen," and 
found it admirable : for nothing on the Theban [southern] 
land and soil can compare with it, Here is the seat of the 
court The place is pleasant to dwell in, its fields are full 
of good things ; and life here passes in plenty and abundance. 
The canals are rich in fish ; the lakes swarm with birds ; 
the meadows are green with vegetables ; there is no end to 
the lentils ; melons with a taste like honey grow in the irri- 
gated gardens. The barns are full of wheat and durra [a 
grain], and reach as high as heaven. Onions and grapes 
grow in the inclosures ; and the apple tree blooms among 
them. The vine, the almond tree, and the fig tree are found 
in the orchards. The redfish is common in the lotus canal ; 
the Bori-fish in the ponds ; many varieties of the same to- 
gether with carp and pike (?) in the canal of Pu-harotha. . . . 
The city canal Pshenhor produces salt, the lake region of 
Pahir produces natron. Sea-going ships enter the harbor. 
Plenty and abundance are perpetual. 


Abridged from Maspero, " Ancient Egypt and .Assyria," p. 29 ff. 

In much the same spirit as Ebers, a famous French Egyptolo- 
gist has drawn us this picture of the commerce and surroundings 
of an Egyptian bazaar, in the days of Barneses II. 

. [In Thebes after threading one's way through dark and 
very narrow streets one would at last] emerge into the full 
sunshine of a noisy little square where a market is being 
held. [Here are all kinds of cattle on sale, and] peasants, 
fishermen, and small retail dealers squat several deep in 
front of the houses, displaying before them in great rush. 


baskets, or on low tables, loaves of pastry, fruit, vegetables, 
fish, meat, raw or cooked, jewels, perfumes, stuffs, all the 
necessities and all the superfluities of Egyptian life. 

The customers stroll past and examine leisurely the 
quality of the commodities offered for sale; each carries 
something of his own manufacture in his hand a new tool, 
some shoes, a mat, or a small box filled with rings of copper, 
silver, or even of gold of the weight of an outnou (nearly 3 
ounces) which he proposes to barter for the object he re- 
quires. Two customers stop at the same moment before a 
peasant who exhibits onions and wheat iu a basket. Instead 
of money one holds two necklets of glass or of many colored 
earthenware, the second a round fan with a wooden handle 
and one of those triangular ventilators which cooks use to 
quicken the fire. [Each praises his offering and asks a cer- 
tain number of onions for it : the peasant at first is obdu- 
rate.] The one asks too much, the other asks too little; 
from concession to concession they finally come to terms, and 
settle the number of onions or the weight of corn which the 
necklet or fan may be worth. 

[Although metal rings and bars are preferred, a great deal 
of the trade is simply by barter ; and much time and wind are 
consumed in making a trade. The unit of weight for metals 
is the outnou, and often] the rings or twisted wires which 
represent the outnou and its multiples do not contain the 
reputed quality of gold or silver, and are too light. They 
are weighed at every fresh market. The parties interested 
take advantage of the excuse for quarreling loudly, declaim- 
ing that the scales are false, that the weight has been badly 
taken, etc. 

Two or three commercial streets or bazaars open from the 
other side of the square, and the crowd hastens towards 
them when it leaves the market. 

Nearly their whole length is filled with stalls and shops, in 
which not only Egypt, but the majority of oriental nations, 


display their most varied productions. Beautifully orna> 
mented stuffs from Syria, Phoenician or Hittite jewelry, 
scented woods and gems from Pnut and Arabia, lapis and 
embroideries from Babylon ; coral, gold, iron, tin, and amber 
from far-distant countries beyond the seas are found scattered 
pell-mell amongst the native fine linen, jewels, glasswork, 
and furniture. [The shops are small, square rooms, open 
in front; and usually behind are some apprentices busy 
manufacturing the wares which their master sells, unless he 
is a dealer in foreign products.] 

There are confectioners, and restaurants where ready cooked 
meats can be bought either to be taken away, or eaten on 
the premises. Barbers go roving about in the bazaars ; and 
their customers squat down on the ground wherever they 
are to have their heads as well as their beards shaved. 

There are also beer houses near by. The reception room 
is furnished with mats, stools, and armchairs. Here the 
customers drink beer, wine, and palm brandy. No sooner 
has a stranger seated himself than a maid servant comes up 
to him offering liquor and urging, " Drink with rapture ! 
Listen to the conversation of thy comrades and enjoy thy- 
self ! " There is a great deal of hard drinking, but public 
opinion condemns drunkenness, and moralists urge " Do not 
forget thyself in the breweries," and again that, " Beer de- 
stroys the soul." 

Abridged from Maspero, " Ancient Egypt and Assyria," p. 6 
What life was to the millions of the laboring peasants who 
built the pyramids, and later the great palaces and temples of 
Thebes, and cultivated the fertile corn lands of Egypt, is illustra- 
ted thus by M. Maspero. The glories of the old Egyptian 
monarchy were paid for by ceaseless ton, infinite discomfort, and 
downright grinding misery for the masses. 


Although, polygamy is legally allowable, men of the 
lower classes seldom have more than one wife. The family 
is very united, but the husband rarely stays at home during 
the day : his work calls him abroad at sunrise. He then 
goes out barefooted, bareheaded, or merely wearing a skull- 
cap. His only dress is a pair of cotton, drawers that barely 
fall below his hips. He carries his food with him, two 
cakes baked in the ashes, one or two onions, sometimes a 
little oil, sometimes a morsel of dried fish. Towards noon 
the work stops for an hour or two, which is used entirely 
for eating and sleeping ; it ceases entirely at sunset. All 
the trades have their disadvantages, thus the poet says, 

" The stone mason seeks his work in every kind of hard 

When he has completed his orders, and when his hands 
are tired, does he rest ? 

[Not so] : he must be in the workyard at dawn : even 
if his knees and spine break with his toil." 

The wages so laboriously earned are extremely scanty, 
and usually paid in kind a little corn and oil, on festival 
days some wine or beer. The overseers bear* a stick as 
their insignia, and use it freely. 

" Man has a back," says the proverb, " and only obeys 
when he is beaten!" 

It was the stick that built the Pyramids, dug the canals, 
won victories for the conquering Pharaoh, and made Egypt 
a great manufacturing nation. It has so entered into the 
daily life of the people that it is looked upon as an in- 
evitable eviL 


Inscription, " Records of the Past " (2d series), vol. Ill, p. 17 ff. 

Ptah-Hotep was a high civil magistrate and nobleman under 

a Pharaoh of the Fifth dynasty (probably about 2700 B.O.). The 

whole of his "Precepts' 1 of which only a small portion is here 


quoted falls into 4* short chapters, and has the general style^ 
concise, shrewd, practical, of the Hebrew "Book of Proverbs." 
The "Precepts" has been called "the oldest book in the 
world" and there are surely very few which antedate it 
Human nature five thousand years ago seems to have been 
distinctly like that of to-day, and many of Ptah-Hotep's. pithy 
admonitions are not without a twentieth century application. 

[Ptah-Hotep] says unto his son, Be not arrogant because 
of what thou knowest : deal with the ignorant as with the 
learned; for the barriers of art are not closed, and no 
artist is in possession of the perfection to which he should 
aspire. But good words are -harder to find than the emerald. 

If thou findest a disputant while he is hot, and he is 
the superior to thee in ability, lower the hands, bend the 
back, do not get into a passion with him. As he will not 
let thee destroy his words, it is utterly wrong to interrupt 
him. That proclaims that thou art incapable of keeping 
thyself calm when thou art contradicted. 

If thou hast, as leader, to decide on the conduct of a 
great number of men, seek the most perfect manner of 
doing so, that thy own conduct be blameless. Justice is 
great, invariable and sure : it has not been disturbed since 
the age of Osiris [the golden age]. 

If thou art a farmer, gather the crops (?) in the field which 
the great God hath given thee, fill not thy mouth in the 
house of thy neighbors. 

Be active in the time of thy existence, doing more than is 
commanded. Do not spoil the time of thy activity ; he is a 
blameworthy man who makes a bad use of his moments. 
Lose not the daily opportunity to increase thy household 
substance. Activity produces riches, but riches endure not 
when activity slackens. 

If thou art a wise man, bring up a son who shall be 
pleasing to God. . . . 

Be not of an irritable temper as regards that which 


happens beside thee. Grumble (?) not over thine own 
affairs. Be not of an irritable temper in regard to thy 
neighbors. Better is a compliment to that which displeases, 
than rudeness. 

If thou art wise, look after thy house. Love thy wife 
without alloy. Pill her stomach, clothe her back, these are 
the cares to bestow upon her. Caress her, fulfill her desires 
during the time of her existence it is a kindness which 
does honor to its possessor. . . . Tact will influence her 
better than violence. 

If thou art a wise man sitting in the council of thy lord, 
direct thy thoughts toward that which is wise. Be silent 
rather than scatter thy words. When thou speakest, know 
that which can be brought against thee. To speak in the 
council is an art, and speech is criticised more than any 
other labor. It is contradiction which puts it to the proof. 

If thou hast become great after having been lowly, harden 
not thy heart because of thy elevation. Thou art become 
only the steward of the good things of God. Put not 
behind thee the neighbor who is like unto thee: be unto 
him as a companion. 

Bend thy back before a superior. [If] thou art attached 
to the palace of the king, thy house is established in its 
fortune, and thy profits are as is fitting. 

When a son receives the instruction of his father, there is 
no error in all -his plans. Train thy son to be a teachable 
man whose wisdom is agreeable to the great. To-morrow 
knowledge will support him, while the ignorant will be 

A son who attends [to his father] is like a follower of 
[the god] Horus. He is happy after having attended. He 
becomes great; he arrives at dignity; he gives the same 
[wise] lesson to his children. 

Let thy thoughts be abundant, but let thy mouth be 
under restraint; [then] thou shalt argue with the mighty. 



" Records of the Past (1st series), vol. X, p. 5 

A nation and a religion can be judged fairly accurately by the 
ethics enjoined for personal conduct. What were the ideals in life 
of an Egyptian nobleman are well stated on this funeral monument 
of Beka. He seems to have been " The Great Steward of the 
Public Treasury " an office very similar to that of the Hebrew 
Joseph and claims (or his heirs claim for him) to have led a 
completely virtuous life. Making due allowances for the compla- 
cent tone of the inscription, the ideals to which the Beka announces 
he has conformed give the impression that at its best the Egyptian 
conception of practical righteousness 'was high indeed. 

A royal gift of offerings, to the person of the Steward of 
the Public Granary, BEKA the "justified." 1 

He says, 

I myself was just and true, without malice, having put 
God in my heart, and having been quick to discern his 

I have reached the city of those who are in eternity. 
Good have I wrought upon earth: prejudice I have not 
harbored ; wickedness I have not done : I have not condoned 
any iniquity: I have rejoiced to speak the truth. 

I have perceived the advantage of doing thus righteously 
upon the earth from my infancy even unto the tomb. My 
sure defense shall be to speak the truth in the day when I 
reach the divine judges [the forty-two assessors of Osiris, the 
god of the hereafter], discoverers of all actions, the chastisers 
of all sin. 

Pure is my soul. While living I bore no malice. 

There are no errors to be laid to my door, no sins of. mine 
are to be laid before the judges. I come out of this trial 
[vindicated] with the help of truth : and behold I am in the 
"i Ze.'he is among the blessed dead. 


place of the just. [And then the Steward is made to boast of 
his various virtues while on earth, e.g :] 

I have not made myself a tyrant over the lowly. 

I have done no harm to men who honored the gods. 

I was in favor with the King, and beloved by great ones 
around him. 

The men of the future will be charmed by my remarkable 

My sincerity and goodness were in the heart of my father 
and mother : my affection was centered (?) upon them. 

Though a great man, yet have I acted as if I had been a 
little one. 1 

My mouth has always been opened to utter time things, 
not to ferment quarrels. 

I have repeated .what I have heard, just as it was told 

i I.e. I have acted humbly. 


On the whole, the literature of the ancient Babylonians and 
their Assyrian neighbors is more intelligible to readers of to-day 
than that of Egypt. There is less repetition of stilted phrases 
perpetuated by the priesthood j again, Bible students find a famil- 
iar echo in many of the Babylonian writings, owing to the kinship 
of their Semitic authors to the Hebrews. Taken as a race the 
dwellers in the Tigro-Euphrates valley were mightier warriors 
than their contemporaries upon the Nile, and had more interest 
and pride in military matters. It must be remembered, how- 
ever, that down to the rise of the Assyrian monarchy no single 
ruler controlled the whole of the valley of the Twin Rivers ; and 
great royal enterprises, as e.g. the Pyramids, were impossible, 
although some of the brick temple towers in Babylonia were of 
very notable proportions. 

In the first part of this chapter are three quotations from the 
annals of the Babylonian- Assyrians j in the second part are a num- 
ber of word pictures, drawn from various sources, illustrating the 
life and institutions of the people, usually taken from the later 
period of their history when their civilization was at its highest. 


Inscription, "Records of the Past " (2d series), vol. I, p. 92 ff. 

Tiglath-Pileser I (about 1120 B.C.) was the first king of Assyria 
who made really extensive conquests. This inscription recording 
his victories was found on four large octagonal cylinders of clay, 
buried under the foundations of the four corners of the great tem- 
ple at Assur, the oldest of the Assyrian capital. 



In this inscription we find the regular earmarks of an Assyrian 
royal chronicle: constant invocations of the gods, endless self- 
praise, and continual glorying in acts of fiendish cruelty. Assyria 
was a vast success as a purely military monarchy ; her kings were 
the bold leaders of a brave and battle-loving people, but they had 
no genius for organizing peaceful government. They were content 
to force a defeated nation to pay tribute and submit to general 
spoliation ; yet left to the natives their kings, laws, etc. The re- 
sult was ceaseless revolts whenever the Assyrian terror abated, 
followed by ruthless reconquests often repeated many times. 

Assur the great lord, director of the hosts of the gods, the 
giver of the scepter and the crown, the stablisher of the 
kingdom ; Bel the Lord, king of all the spirits of the earth, 
the father of the gods, the lord of the world, [and all ye 
other] great gods, guiders of heaven and earth, whose onset 
is opposition and combat, who have magnified the kingdom 
of Tiglath-Pileser, the prince, the chosen of the desire of 
your hearts, the exalted shepherd . . . with a crown supreme, 
yon have clothed him : to rule over the land of Bel mightily 
you have established him. . . . 

Tiglath-Pileser the powerful king, the king of hosts who 
has no rival, the king of the four zones, the king of all the 
kinglets, the lord of lords, the shepherd prince, the king of 
kings, the exalted prophet, to whom by proclamation of 
Sarnas [the Sun-God] the illustrious scepter has been given 
as a gift . . . the illustrious prince whose glory has over- 
whelmed all regions, the mighty destroyer, who like the 
rush of a flood is made strong against the hostile land, he 
has destroyed the foeinen of Assur [i.e. Assyria], 

Countries, mountains, fortresses and kinglets, the enemies 
of Assur I have conquered and their territories I have made 
to submit. With sixty kings I have contended furiously, 
and power and rivalry over them I displayed. A rival in 
the combat, a confronter in the battle, I have not. To the 
land of Assyria I have added land, to its men I have added 


men : the boundary of my own land I have enlarged, and 
all their lands I have conquered. 

At the beginning of my reign 20,000 men of the Muskaya x 
and their five kings to their strength trusted and came 
down : the land of Kummukh [along the upper Euphrates] 
they seized. 

Trusting in Assur my lord I assembled my chariots and 
armies. There upon I delayed not. The mountains of Kasi- 
yara, a difficult region, I crossed. With their 20,000 fighting 
men, and their five kings in the land of Kummukh I con- 
tended. A destruction of them I made. The bodies of 
their warriors in destructive battle like the Inundator [the 
god Eimmon] I overthrew. Their corpses I spread over 
the valleys and the high places of the mountains. TJieir 
h$ads I cut off: at the sides of their cities I heaped them 
like mounds. Their spoil, their property, their goods, 
to a countless number I brought forth. Six thousand men, 
the relics of their armies, which before my weapons had 
fled, and took my feet. 2 I laid hold upon them and counted 
them among the men of my own country. 

[After telling at great length about his numerous conquests, 
rebels crushed, cities taken, kings reduced and general slaughter 
of the enemy, Tiglath-Pileser boasts of his feats as a royal hunter : 
a matter wherein an Assyrian king would take almost as much 
pride as in his conquests.] 

Under the protection of [the god] Uras, who loves me, 
from young wild bulls, powerful and large in the deserts, 
with ray mighty bow, a lasso of iron and my pointed spear, 
their lives I ended. Their hides and their horns to my city 
of Assur I brought. 

Ten powerful male elephants ... I slew. Four ele- 
phants alive I captured. Their hides and their teeth along 
with the live elephants I brought to my city of Assur. 

1 A people adjacent to Assyria. 2 Embraced them, asking for mercy. 


One hundred twenty lions, with my stout heart in the 
conflict of my heroism on my feet I slew, and 800 lions in 
my chariot with javelins (?) I slaughtered. 


Inscription, " Records of the Past " (2d series), vol. VI, p. 90 

In 701 B.C. Sennacherib, one of the most ruthless and aggressive 
of all the kings of Assyria (reigned 705 to 681 B.C.), attacked 
Hezekiah, king of Judah. (Compare in Bible, II Kings, chap. 
XVIII.) The treatment Hezekiah received was very merciful 
compared with the fate of most of Sennacherib's enemies, and 
shows that he was able to make a very stout resistance. The de- 
struction of the Assyrian host by some strange pestilence (II 
Kings, chap. XIX) seems to have occurred during a later attack, 
directed especially against Egypt. Naturally Sennacherib in his 
inscriptions says nothing of such a disaster. . 

The treatment Sennacherib boasts to have inflicted on the Elam- 
ites shows what Assyrian kings considered redounded to their 
highest glory. 

[From the great inscription of Sennacherib : reciting the nu- 
merous kings whom he had vanquished or made tributary: he 

Hezekiah of Judah, who had not submitted to my yoke, I 
besieged 46 of his strong' cities, castles and small cities : 
... by casting down their walls, and advancing the war 
engines, by an assault of the light-armed soldiers, by 
breaches, by battering and by axes (?) I took them. 200,150 
people, young and old, male and female, I brought out from 
them ; with horses, mules, asses, camels, oxen, and sheep 
without number. I counted them, as spoil. 

Hezekiah himself I shut up like a caged bird in Jerusa- 
lem, his royal city : I fortified the walls against him, and 
whosoever came out of the gates I turned back. After I 
had plundered his cities, I divided them from his land and 


gave them to Mitinti, king of Ashdod, to Padi, king of Ek 
ron, and to Tsil-Bal, king of Gaza, and thus I diminished 
his territory. To the former year's tribute, I added the 
tribute of [subject] alliance to my lordship and laid that 
upon him. 

Hezekiah himself was overwhelmed with the fear of the 
brightness of my lordship. The Arabians and his other 
faithful warriors, whom as a defense for Jerusalem his 
royal city, he had introduced, fell into fear. 30 talents of 
gold and 800 talents of silver, precious stones . . . large 
lapis lazuli, couches of ivory, thrones of ivory, ivory, valu- 
able wood of every kind, a heavy treasure, and his 
daughters, his harein women, the young men and young 
women [of his household] I caused to be brought after me to 
Nineveh, the city of my lordship. And he sent me ambas- 
sadors to give tribute and to pay homage. 

[In dealing with the conquered king of Elam and his men, Sen- 
nacherib boasts thus of his ruthlessness :] 

Their necks I cut off like lambs, their precious lives I cut 
through like a knot. . . . The chargers of my chariot swam 
in the masses of blood as in a river, . . . blood and filth 
ran down its wheel. With the corpses of their warriors as 
with herbs I filled the field. I mutilated my captives hor- 
ribly. I cut off their hands. Their bracelets of gold and 
silver which were on their arms I plucked off. With sharp 
swords I cut off their noses. 

Inscription, " Records of the Past (2d series), vol. m, p. 104 ff. ' 
Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon (reigned about 604 to 561 B.O.) 
was the virtual creator of Babylon as a surpassingly great city. 
Earlier, although a place of much importance, it had been over- 
shadowed by Nineveh; but now it held the position of the lead- 
ing city of the Orient, and retained its dignity down to the rise of 


Alexandria, after which it rapidly decayed. Nebuchadnezzar 
boasts of his glory and mighty deeds in a sufficiently Tainglorious 
inscription ; but there is some reason for believing that he was 
less bloodthirsty and war-loving than the Assyrian kings to whose 
power he, in a certain sense, succeeded. 

Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, the prince exalted, the 
favorite of Marduk, the pontiff supreme; the beloved of 
Nabu, the serene, the possessor of wisdom, who the way of 
their godhead regardeth, who feareth their lordship, the 
servant unwearied, . . . the wise, the prayerful, the main- 
tainer of Esagilla and Ezida, 1 the chiefest son of Nabupalas- 
sar, king of Babylon, am I. 

[The king goes on to state how from his youth he worshiped 
Marduk, the guardian god of Babylon, and devoted himself to his 

The prince Marduk, the leader glorious, the open-eyed 
[chieftain?] of the gods, heard my supplication, and re- 
ceived my prayers. Yea, he made gracious his supreme 
lordship, the fear of his godhead he implanted in my heart. 
... I worshiped his lordship. In his high trust, to far- 
off lands, to distant hills, from the Upper Sea to the Lower 
Sea, by immense journeys, through blocked ways, a place 
where the path is broken, where feet go not, a road of hard- 
ships, a journey of straits, I pursued, and the unyielding I 
reduced, and I fettered the rebels. The land I ordered 
aright, and the people I made to thrive. Bad and good 
among the people I removed. 

Silver, gold, the glitter of precious stones, copper, valu- 
able (?) wood, cedar, whatsoever thing is precious, in a 
large abundance, the produce of mountains, the fullness of 
seas, a rich present, a splendid gift to my city of Babylon 
into [Marduk's] presence I brought. 

The cell 2 of the lord of the gods, Marduk, I made to 

i Probably notable temples are here mentioned. 
a A kind of "Holy of Holies." 


glisten like suns, even the wall thereof. With gold, and pre- 
cious stones and alabaster, the habitations of the house [of 
the god] I overlaid. 

[The king goes on to tell at length how he built or beautified 
temples to all the great gods.] 

Imgur-bel and Niniitti-bel the great ramparts of Baby- 
lon, Nabupolassar, king of Babylon, the father that 
begat me, had made but had not finished the work 
of them. The moat he had dug, and the two strong 
walls with bitumen and burnt brick had constructed along 
its bank : the dikes ... he had made and a fence of burnt 
brick on the other side of the Euphrates : but he had not 
finished the rest ... As for me, his eldest son, the beloved 
of his heart, I finished these great ramparts of Babylon. 
Beside the scarp of its moat the two strong walls with bitu- 
men and burnt brick I built, and with the wall which niy 
father had constructed I joined them, and the city, for cover, 
I carried them round. . . . 

Through the raising [of the walls] the portals on both 
sides of the gates had become low. These portals I pulled 
down, and over against the water, 1 their foundation with 
bitumen and burnt brick I firmly laid : and with burnt brick 
and gleaming . . . stone, whereof bulls and dreadful ser- 
pents were made . , . cunningly I constructed. Strong 
cedar beams for the roofing of them I laid on. Doors of 
cedar with plating of bronze, lintels and hinges, and copper- 
work, in its gates I set up. Strong bulls of copper, and 
dreadful serpents standing upright, on their thresholds 
I erected. Those portals [also] with carven work for the 
gazings of the multitude of the people I caused to be 

[The king now speaks of the splendid palace he built in Baby- 
lon for his residence.] 

i Probably the moat by the walls is referred to. 


I reared it high as the wooded hills. Stout cedars for the 
roofing of it I laid on. Doors of cedar vnth a plating of 
bronze, sills and hinges of copperwork, in its gates I set 
up. Silver, gold, precious stones, everything that is prized, 
or is magnificent; substance, -wealth, the ornaments of 
majesty, I heaped up -within it. Strength, splendor, and 
[my] royal treasure, I hoarded -within it. 

[The inscription concludes with an invocation to Marduk.] 

At thy behest, most merciful Marduk, may the house 
that I have made [in Babylon] endure : and with the fullness 
of it may I be satisfied, and within it may hoar age reach 
me ! May I be satisfied with offspring ! Of the kings of the 
world, and of all men, within this house may I receive 
their heavy tribute ! . , . My posterity within it, forever- 
more may they rule over the Black-heads. 1 

The Bible, Book of Nahum, chap, m, vs. 1-19 

Nahuin, the Hebrew Prophet, seems to have uttered this denun- 
ciation of Assyria and her great capital just before the empire and 
city, which had terrorized the world so long, were about to fall be- 
fore the allied Medes and Babylonians in 606 B.C. In his impas- 
sioned utterance there is given heart-felt expression to that spirit 
of unrelenting hate, which the long-drawn career of oppression and 
cruelty on the part of Assyria had engendered. Nahum was not 
speaking for Judah only, but for every adjacent land, when he 
gloried over the calamity of "the bloody city." Considering the 
length of time it lasted, probably no great monarchy ever wrought 
so much harm and so little good as Assyria. Its luxuries and 
refinements were all borrowed from conquered lands j its insatiable 
love of conquest and slaughter was its own. 

. Woe to the bloody city ! 
. Full of lies is it, and of plunder ! 

i I.e. the people of Babylonia. 


Limit is not to the spoil ! 

[Hear ye] the noise of the whip, the noise of the rattling 
of the wheels. 

The horses come prancing: the chariots come bounding 
[to the onset.] 

The horseman lif teth up his flashing sword and his glit- 
tering spear. There is a heap of slain, and numberless 
corpses corpses without end ! Men stumble over the 

Because of the manifold iniquities of [Assyria] the 
wanton : the mistress of witchcrafts : she who hath sold 
nations by her vileness, and peoples through her black 

Behold I am against thee, saith Jehovah of Hosts. 

[Men shall say] " Nineveh is laid waste I Who shall be- 
wail her f Whence shall I seek comforters for thee ?" 

Art thou [oh ! Nineveh] better than populous No-Ammon 
[Egyptian Thebes] which lay in the midst of her rivers . . . 
whose wall was from the sea ... [and] Ethiopia and Egypt 
were her strength? . . . 

Yet she was carried away into captivity : her young children 
also were dashed in pieces at the top of the streets, and they 
cast lots for her honorable men : and all her great men were 
bound in chains. 

So, too, thou also shalt become drunken, and overcome. 
Thou shalt seek for a refuge from thy enemy. 

All thy strongholds shall be like fig trees with the first 
ripe fruit. If they be shaken they shall even fall into the 
mouth of the eater. 

Lo ! thy folk are like women : wide open stands thy gate 
to thine enemies : the fire devoureth thy bulwarks. 

[Go then, Assyrians, and] draw your . waters for the 
siege : fortify your fortresses : go into the clay pits and 
tread the clay : take up the brick molds [to repair the 
walls !] 


[Nevertheless] the fire shall devour thee: the sword 
shall cut thee off: it shall eat thy city up like a canker- 
worm. . . . 

Thy shepherds slumber, King of Assyria ! 

Thy nobles shall dwell in the dust ! 

Thy peoples are scattered upon the mountain, and there is 
none to assemble them ! 

Healing comes not to thy bruise. 

Thy wound is grievous. 

All that hear the news of thy fate clap their hands over 
thee : for whom hath not thy wickedness afflicted continually. 


Inscription, " Records of the Past " (2d series), vol. H, p. 180 

The following is addressed to an Assyrian king (date uncertain) 
by a physician. The patient reported upon is possibly a prince 
and a relation of the king. The tablet, which was found in the so- 
called " Record Office " in the palace at Nineveh, gives an example 
of the flowery style of address used in Assyrian letters, also of the 
practical common sense that seems to have characterized the medical 
science of the day. 

To the King my lord, thy servant Arad-Nana. May 
there be peace for ever and ever to the king my lord. May 
the god Ninep, and the goddess Gula give soundness of heart 
and soundness of mind, and soundness of flesh to the king 
my lord. Peace forever. 

To reduce the general inflammation of his forehead I tied a 
bandage upon it. His face is swollen. Yesterday as formerly 
I opened the wound which had been received in the midst of 
it. As for the bandage which was over the swelling, matter 
was upon the bandage the size of the tip of the little finger. 
Thy gods, if they can restore unto him the whole flesh of 
his body, cause thou to invoke, and his mouth will cry: 


" Peace forever ! May the heart of the king my lord be 
good I " He will live seven or eight days. 1 


[From the " Record Office "at Nineveh. Name of King unknown and date 
missing.] " Records of the Past " (2d series), vol. II, p. 184 

To the king my lord, thy servant Arad-Nabu. May there 
be peace to the king my lord : may the gods Assur, Sa- 
mas, [Bel and the rest] . . . lovers of thy rule, let the king 
my lord live for a hundred years. May they satisfy the 
king my lord with old age and offspring. 

The gold which in the month Tisi, the ittu* the prefect 
of the palace, and I with them, missed 2 talents of stand- 
ard gold and 6 talents of gold not standard (this gold) the 
hands of the chief of the rnetal workers (?) placed in the 
house. He sealed it up ; and the gold for the image of 
the kings, and for the image of the king's mother he gave 
not. Let the king my lord give command to the ittu and 
the prefect of the palace that they may discover the gold. 
The beginning of the month is good [to begin the work ?] 
Let them give it to the men. Let them do the work. 


Inscription, Jastrow's Translation (altered) in Hastings' Dictionary of 
the Bible, vol. V, p. 558 

The Babylonians had a rather remarkable knowledge of astron- 
omy, but they put it to very unscientific uses ; e.g. the tablet 
here quoted shows how carefully they observed eclipses in order 
to be able to divine the future. To the Babylonians we owe the 
pseudo-science of astrology; a superstition of course by no means 
dead to-day. 

1 The case is evidently hopeless. The only 'chance , thinks the physician, 
is an appeal by the king to the gods. 

2 Some government functionary whose duties are not quite clear* 


If on the 1st day of the month Tishri the sun is darkened, 
war will rage betwixt the kings. 

If on the 9th day, Adad [the storm god] will raise his 
cry [i.e. there will be a great storm.] 

If on the 16th day, there will be plenty of food in the 
land, and the canals will be full of water. 

If on the 18th day, there will be peace for the king. 

If on the 20fch day, the country will be diminished. 

If on the 21st day, sheer ruin is forewarned for the 
[whole ?] country. 

If on the 29th day, in that same year the king will 
perish, and calamity overtake the land. 

If [during the whole month] the sun is darkened, the 
gods will smite the whole country with ruin. 

Inscription, " Records of the Past " (3d series), vol. V, p. 173 

The following quotation from an inscription by Kabonidus, 
the last king of Babylon before the Persian Conquest (538 B.C.), 
is of great importance. Assuming the Babylonian priests kept 
careful chronological records in their temples (and there is ground 
to believe that they did), we here have evidence fixing the date of 
the ancient king Naram-Sin, and indicating that his famous father, 
Sargon the First, was at the height of his power shortly after 
3800 B.O. Surely very respectable antiquity ! 1 

[Speaking of an ancient temple to Samas the sun god, which 
the king was repairing,] 

The wall of this temple had fallen in, and I threw 
down the temple and sought for its ancient foundation 
stone. 18 cubits deep I excavated the ground [and found 
it]. The foundation cylinder of Naram-Sin, son of Sargon, 
which for 8200 years none of the kings who went before me 

i Recent investigators assert that this date is possibly several hundred 
years too early. Even then, Sargon I reigned near the year 3000 B.C. 


had seen, Samas, the great lord of Bit-Uri, the temple which 
his heart loves, showed unto ine. [Then] with silver, gold, 
precious stones, the products of the forest, spices and cedar, 
with joy and gladness ... [I restored the temple] I 
caused 5000 strong cedars to be brought for its roof. Lofty 
doors of cedar, posts and hinges, I hung in its gates. 


Maspero, " Ancient Egypt and Assyria, 1 ' p. 198 ff. (abridged) 

As in the case of Egypt, as much of our knowledge of Assyria 
comes from the pictures and sculptures left us, as from the 
written records ; with the aid of the great bas-reliefs discovered 
by such archaeologists as Layard and Botta, and by a skillful 
piecing together of other evidence, M. Maspero has reconstructed 
this description of Dur-Sargina, a city founded near Nineveh, 
by Sargon (II) the Great (reigned about 722 to 705 B.C.). 

There are eight gates, two on each side. They open 
between two towers which leave only a space for the en- 
trance itself. Each of them is dedicated to one of the gods 
of the city and is named after it. [At the entrance ways] 
two gigantic [stone] bulls with human heads stand at the 
entrance of the passage, the face and chest turned towards 
the outside : the body placed against the inner wall. They 
seem waiting for an enemy, and are accompanied by two 
winged genii half concealed behind them. The arch 
which separates them, and which is supported by their 
miters, is decorated by a band of enameled bricks, upon 
which more genii facing each other in pairs are holding 
fir cones : a many colored rosette is in the center. 

The transport and placement of these stone monsters 

proved no light task. The blocks were quarried in the 

mountains of Kurdistan, and were then brought down to 

the banks of the Zab. 1 Here they were roughly hewn 

1 A river near Dur-Sargina and Nineveh. 


into shape so as to lighten the weight, then placed on 
sledges, drawn by squadrons of foreign prisoners who after- 
ward with cords and levers hoisted them upon their stands 
where the sculptors finished them. They are now the 
mystic guardians of the city, which ward off not only the 
attacks of men, but the invasion of evil spirits and per- 
nicious maladies. Every day the old men and idlers as- 
semble at their feet. The judge of the district sometimes 
holds a sitting and gives judgment there. The merchants 
drive their bargains and discuss their business, whilst the 
politicians exchange the last news from abroad [the revolt 
of Egypt, or how the barbarous Cimmerians have killed 
the king of Lydia.] 

[In the city] the streets which start from the gates [are 
carefully paved and have sidewalks.] The houses that 
border on them are usually one storied. The door is high 
and narrow. It seems to be concealed in one corner of the 
facade. Scarcely a window breaks the unity of the wall, 
and the terraced roofs are surmounted by conical domes, or 
half cupolas which open inwards. 

Strangers lodge in vast inns situated near the ramparts. 
There is no outward distinction between them and the private 
houses. The traveler enters and finds himself in a large 
rectangular court: in the center is a well shaded by a syca- 
more tree. All around it are stories of small rooms, one 
above the other, in which the guests spend the night, and 
some large ones which are used for stables for the beasts 
of burden and storehouses for the merchandise. 

Towards the center of the town, the houses become richer 
and more beautiful : traffic increases, luxurious chariots are 
seen amongst the crowd of pedestrians. [Thanks to the 
policy of the Assyrians of transplanting the inhabitants of 
conquered countries all manner of races and nations are to 
be seen in the crowd dark Hebrews, fair-haired Aryan 
Medes, etc.] 


Abridged from Maspero, Ancient Egypt and Assyria, p. 202 

Within Dur-Sargina rose the majestic palace of Sargon the 
Great, which is thus reconstructed by M. Maspero. 

The royal palace is upon the northeast side of the city, 
half within, half without the inclosure. [It is set upon a 
lofty esplanade of brick work], a hillock raised by the labor 
of man which raises the foot of the walls far above the sur- 
rounding roofs. It is accessible from the city only : pedes- 
trians reach it by a double staircase constructed in front of 
the platform, horsemen and carriages by a greatly sloping 
ascent. The king dwells there as in a turret, whence he 
can see the whole country, and which he could defend long 
after the city had been taken. [At the two chief gates are 
high masts with the royal standard, and giant sculptured 
bulls guard the sides of the portals.] 

The immense court into which the gates open is a public 
place which tradesmen of every kind, suppliants and even mere 
sightseers, enter without the least difficulty. Thousands of 
persons are attached to the sovereign's household : some as 
chamberlains, treasurers, scribes, eunuchs, military chiefs : 
others as footmen, soldiers, and cooks. There is a perpetual 
movement of detachments relieving guard, couriers coming 
or going with dispatches : officials going to or coming from 
an audience : files of donkeys with provisions : and morn- 
ing and evening hundreds of male and female slaves descend 
in procession to draw from the tributaries of the Khosr 
[river] the water needed by such a multitude. . . . [There 
are vast storerooms, and magazines for weapons, and provi- 
sions around this court.] 

A small door in the southern angle of the court leads to 
the harem. Assyrian women of the lower class enjoy al- 
most unlimited independence, but [women of higher rank 
possess next to no liberty. The queens are the greatest 


prisoners of all] they remain invisible during most of their 
lives, receiving only their family and household. 

When Sargon founded his city he had three legitimate 
wives, and to each he granted a separate establishment : his 
harem therefore contained three compartments or rather 
three houses. The internal arrangements of these houses 
is precisely similar: an anteroom wider than it is long, a 
drawing-room, of which one half is unroofed, the other half 
is covered with a semidoine, a staircase with eleven steps, 
and the bedroom. The walls are coated with white stucco, 
and covered with a black plinth : the floor is flagged or 
carefully bricked : here and there are carpets, stools, arm- 
chairs, low tables, and in the alcove a wooden bed, raised 
upon feet with its mattress and coverings. 

After marriage the life of the queens is passed in this 
prison: dress, embroidery, needlework, and housekeeping, 
long conversations with their slaves, the exchange of visits, 
and the festivals, with dancing and singing with which 
they entertain one another serve for occupation and amuse- 
ment. From time to time the king passes some hours among 
them, or invites them to dine in his gardens. . . . [Not- 
withstanding this monotonous life a thousand intrigues are 
carried on : the wives are always at war among themselves : 
the eunuchs take sides : and sometimes a rival is taken off 
by poison.] 


Inscription, Translation based upon Translation by C. H. W. Johns in Hast- 
ings 1 Dictionary of the Bible, vol. V, p. 599 ff . 

The code of Hammurabi is the most remarkable and complete 
code of ancient law which we have, until we come to the legislation 
recorded in the Pentateuch. Hammurabi was a famous king of 
Babylonia who lived about 2240 B.C. He won victories over the 
neighboring power of Elam, and attempts have been made to iden- 


tify him with the Amraphel mentioned in the Bible (Genesis, 
chap. XIV), but this is extremely uncertain. 

The code is sufficiently elaborate to meet the needs of a dis- 
tinctly complex society, and gives us a high idea of the degree of 
civilization existing in the Tigro-Euphrates valley in the third 
millennium B.C. A most interesting study can be made by com- 
paring this code (here quoted only in small part) with the Mosaic 
legislation, and noting the similarities and dissimilarities. [Two 
hundred and eighty-two titles are preserved : of which only a few 
typical ones can here be cited.] 

If a man in a case under trial, as a witness to slander, has 
lied, and has not proved the word which he has spoken, if 
the case involve a capital penalty, let him be put to 

If a man has stolen an ox, or a sheep, or an ass or a pig, 
or a ship from the temple, or the palace ; let him requite 
thirty fold. But if he have stolen from a poor man he shall 
repay ten fold. 1 If the robber be not able to pay, let him 
die the death. 

If a man [bringing a lawsuit] has not his witnesses on hand, 
the judge shall assign him a fixed time [for trial] up to six 
months : and if within six months he has not produced his 
witnesses, then he has slandered [in his charges.] He him- 
self then must bear the penalty. 

If any one turns bandit and is captured let him die the 

If the bandit has escaped, the man who has been robbed 
shall recount before God [i.e. state under oath] what he has 
lost, and the city and governor in whose land and district 
the robbery occurred, shall repay him what he lost. 2 

If any one has given his field for produce to a farmer, 
and has received the produce of his field, and afterward a 

1 This statute surely makes one law for the rich, and another law for 
the poor. 

2 This law is evidently to prevent local magistrates from giving aid and 
protection to robbers. 


thunderstorm has ravaged the field or destroyed the produce, 
the loss is the farmer's. 1 

[But] if the owner has not received [his share of] the prod- 
uce of his field, or has given the field either for one half or 
one third of the corn that was in the field, the farmer and 
owner of the field shall share [any loss] according to the 
special wording of their contract. 

If any one shall give silver, gold, or anything else to 
another party on deposit, all things so deposited he shall 
show to witnesses, and fix the bonds [required.] 

If without witnesses or bonds he has given on deposit, and 
the party receiving later disputes his claim, he has no 
redress : 

[But] if ... he has given before witnesses, and the other 
party has disputed his claim [to repayment]: the latter 
person is liable, and whatever property he has disputed he 
shall restore double. 

If a man has set his face against his son, and declared to 
the judge; "I intend to cut oS my son," then the judge 
shall seek his reasons : and if the son be not guilty of a 
great crime such as destroys his rights to sonship, the father 
may not cut him off. 

If a man has caused a man of rank to lose his eye, one of 
his own eyes must be struck out. 

If he has shattered the limb of a man of rank, let his own 
limb be shattered. 

If he has caused a poor man to lose an eye, or has 
shattered a limb, let him pay one maneh of silver [f 32.00]. 

If any one has smitten the cheek of a man his superior in 
rank, he shall be whipped in the public assembly with 60 
strokes with the cowhide lash. 

[But] if being a man of rank he so smite another man of 
rank his equal, let him pay one maneh of silver. 

iThe farmer must stand the entire loss of his part of the crop, provided 
the landlord has already received his share. 


[But] if a poor man so smite a poor man, let him pay 
10 shekels of silver. 

[But] if the servant of a man of rank so strike a freeman, 
let his ear be cut off. 

[Many other penalties for a long catalog of crimes, arranged on 
a similar scale, follow.] 

If a physician has treated a man of rank with a bronze 
lancet for a severe wound, and caused the nobleman to die, 
or has removed a cataract from the eye of a nobleman using 
a bronze lancet, and caused the loss of the eye, let his 
hands be cut off. 

[If he so treat a slave] and the slave die, he shall render 
back slave for slave. 

If a physician cure the shattered limb of a man of rank, 
... the patient shall give him five shekels of silver. 

If the patient is the son of a poor man, he shall give three 
shekels of silver. 

If a cow doctor or an ass doctor has treated a cow or an 
ass for a severe wound, and affected a cure, the owner there- 
of shall give the healer one sixth of a silver shekel as his fee. 1 

If any one hire a working ox for one year, he shall pay for 
its hire four gur of corn. 

If any one hire, an ox or an ass, and a lion kill it in the 
open field, the owner must stand the loss. 

[But] if any one hire an ox, and through negligence or his 
beatings it die, then he must render back ox for ox to the 

[A list of regulations fixing the price for all kinds of personal 
service, wages, and things connected therewith follows.] 

These judgments of righteousness did Hammurabi the 
mighty king confirm, and caused the land to take on a sure 
government and a beneficent rule. 

iBut if the creature died, the unlucky veterinary was liable for one 
fourth of its value. A shekel was about 64 cents. 



Inscription, "Records of the Past " (2d scries), vol. I, p. 160 

The tablet here quoted will give an idea of the Babylonians' 
legal practices and documents. " Barachiel " seems to have been a 
Jew, no doubt one of the " Captivity " carried away by Nebuchad- 
nezzar, when he took Jerusalem (586 B.C.). 

Barachiel is a slave of ransom 1 belonging to GagS the 
daughter of , whom in the 35th, year of Nebuchadnez- 
zar (about 570 B.C.) from Akhi-nuri ... for the third of a 
maneh and 8 shekels she bought. 

Recently he has instituted an action saying thus : " I am 
the son of a noble ancestor of the family of Belrimanni, who 
have joined the hands in matrimony of Samas : mudammig 
the son of Nabu-nadin-akh and the woman Qusadu the 
daughter of Akhi-nuri, even L " 

In the presence of the high priest, the nobles and the 
judges of Nabonidus king of Babylon, they pleaded the 
case and listened to their arguments in regard to the obli- 
gation of servitude of [said Barachiel]. 

From the 35th year of Nebuhadnezzar to the 7th year of 
Nabonidus [549 B.C.] he had been sold for money, [and] had 
been put in pledge, and as the dowry of Nubta the daughter 
of G-agS had been given. Afterward Nubta had alienated 
him by a sealed contract, in exchange for a house and slaves 
to Zamama-nadin her son, and to Idina her husband had 
given him. f 

They [the judges] read the evidence and thus said to Bara- 
chiel, " Prove to us thy noble ancestry." 

Barachiel retracted his former statement, saying, " Twice 
have I run away from the house of my master, but many 
people were present and I was seen. I was afraid, and I 
said accordingly I am the son of a noble ancestor. My 

1 I.e. he was entitled to accumulate a private fortune in order to 
emancipate himself. 


citizenship exists not; I am the 'slave of ransom ; of Gaga. 
Nubta her daughter received me as her dowry. Nubta 
alienated me by a sealed contract, and to Zamainarnadin her 
son and IdinS, her husband gave me in exchange : and after 
the death of Gaga and Nubta, to Itti-Marduk-baladh, for 
silver I was sold. 

"I am a slave. Go now, pronounce sentence about me." 
The high priest, the nobles and the judges heard the 
evidence and restored Barachiel to his condition as a ' slave 
of ransom,' 


Inscription, " Records of the Past " (3d series), vol. U, p. 192 

This hymn is in the Akkadian language, the most ancient lan- 
guage of the Tigro-Euphrates peoples. The tablet we have seems 
to date from the reign of Nebuchadnezzar the Great (about 580 
B.C.). Along with it goes an interlinear translation into the reg- 
ular Assyrio-Babylonian tongue. This chant is one of the oldest 
religious poems in existence. No scholar dare say for how many 
centuries it bad been intoned from the summits of the viggurats 
(the pyramid-like brick temple-towers) at sundown at every shrine 
of the Sun God, before it was recorded as here, in the days of 
the last great king of Babylon. 

Sun, in the middle of the sky, at thy setting, 

May the bright gates welcome thee favorably. 

May the door of heaven be docile to thee, 

May the god who is thy forerunner, thy messenger, mark 

the way ! 
In E-bara, 1 the seat of thy royalty, he makes thy greatness 

shine forth. 
May the Moon, thy beloved spouse, come to meet thee with 

May thy heart rest in peace, 

i E-bara was the name of a temple of the Sun God. 


May the glory of thy godhead remain with thee. 

Powerful hero, Sun, shine gloriously ! 

Lord of E-bara, direct in thy road thy foot rightly, 

Sun, in making thy way, take the path marked for thy 

Thou art the lord of judgments over the nations. 

[A Postscript.] 

This is the hymn to the setting sun, 

The chanter [at the temple] says it after the beginning of 
the night. 

Inscription, " Records of the Past " (2d series), vol. I, p. 133 

The tablet preserving this story of the creation dates from about 
650 B.C., being among the documents discovered in the so-called 
"Royal Library of Nineveh"- but it is fair to assume that the 
narrative here given is many centuries older. The account has at 
some points suggestive similarities to the Hebrew account in Gen- 
esis : the later part of the extract here given is taken up with a 
description of the combat between Bel-Marduk and the dragon 
Tiamat, one of the most famous stories in Babylonian- Assyrian 

At that time the heaven above had not yet been announcedj 
or the earth beneath recorded. The unopened deep was theii 
generator, Muminu-Tiamat [the Chaos of the Sea] was the 
mother of them all. The waters were even bosomed as one, 
and the cornfield was unharvested, the pasture was ungrown. 
At that time the gods had not appeared, any of them : ty 
no name were they recorded, no destiny (had they fixed) 
Then the [great] gods were created, Lakhmu and Lakhami; 
issued forth [the first], until they grew up [when] Ansai 
and Kisar 1 were created. Long were the days, extended 

1 Ansar and Kisar seem to have been the "upper" and the "lowe 
firmament. ' ' 


[was the time, until] the gods Anu, [Bel and Ea were born,} 
Ansar and Kisar [gave them birth]. 

[Before the younger gods could find a comfortable habitation for 
themselves on the earth it was needful to destroy Tiamat, the 
"Dragon of Chaos," and all her monstrous offspring; this task 
was undertaken by Bel-Marduk, the sun god of Babylon, who thus 
narrates his victory.] 

The strong one [Marduk] the glorious, who desists not 
day nor night, the exciter to battle, was disturbed in his 
heart. Then they marshalled their forces: they created 
darkness. . . . [And then, says Marduk, " The dragon] the 
creatress of them all I pursued with my weapons unsur- 
passed: then did the great snakes bite. With my teeth 
sharpened unsparingly did I bite. With poisoned breath 
like blood their bodies I filled. The raging vampires I 
clothed with terror. I lifted up. the lighting flash, on high 
I launched it. ... 

" I made ready the dragon, the mighty serpent, and the god 
Lakhamu, the great reptile, the deadly beast, a^d the scor- 
pion man, the devouring reptiles, the fish man, and the 
gazelle god ; lifting up my weapons that spare not, fearless 
of battle, strong through the law that (yields ?) not before 
the foe ! 

" The eleven-fold offspring like him their messenger were 
utterly overthrown. Among the gods her forces "(were 
routed ?). I humbled the god Kingu [the husband of Tia- 
mat] in the sight of his consort the queen. 

" They who went in front before the army (I smote), lift- 
ing up my weapons, a snare for Tiamat." 

[The poet now breaks out in praise of Bel-Marduk.] 

Marduk, thou art glorious among the great gods ! Thy 
destiny is unrivalled. . . . Since that day unchanged is 
thy command. High and low entreat thy hand ! May the 


word that goes forth from thy mouth be established. . . . 
None among the gods has surpassed thy power at the time 
when thy hand founded the shrine of the god of the sky ! 


Inscription, Jastrow, in Hastings' " Dictionary of the Bible,*' vol. V, 
p. 564 fi. [Considerably altered in phrasing] 

The ancient Babylonians have left us a large number of prayers 
and psalms, sometimes expressing a considerable depth of religious 
feeling. It is worth noticing (1) that they show a consciousness 
of the dependence of man upon God, unlike some o^her forms of 
paganism; (2) that in them the sense of personal sw has a very 
distinct utterance. Comparing them with the Hebrew prayers 
and psalms it is interesting to observe both their similarities and 

A Prayer by Gudea, a King in Southern Babylonia about 
8000 A.D., to the Goddess Ban 

my queen, lofty daughter of Ann, 

Who furnishes proper counsel, whose is the highest rank 
among the gods, 

thou who bestowest very life upon the land. . . . 

Thou it is who art queen: the mother thou, who hast 
founded Shirpula. 

That people whereon thou lookest in merciful favor prosper. 

Long is the life of the hero whom thou dost regard favor- 

No mother have I my mother thou art ! 

No father have I my father thou art ! 

A Prayer to Samas the Sun God 

Lord, illuminator of the darkness, thou whom the wide sky 


Merciful god, exalter of the humble, protector of the weak : 
All the mighty gods look upwards to thy light. . . . 


All human-kind thou guidest together, as if they were but 

one man. 
Eagerly they look up to thy sunlight, lifting their heads on 


At thy dayspring, they rejoice, they exult. 
The light art thou of the far ends of the heavens. 
Thou art the standard for the wide-stretching earth, 
All the hosts of men gaze up to thee in joy. 

From a Prayer to the Goddess Istar 

Take away [I beseech thee] my sin, my iniquity, my trans- 
gression and my sin. 

Forgive them : accept my petition. . . . 

Guide thou my steps that I may walk proudly among my 

Command! and at thy word may the god that has wrath at 
me be appeased. 

Yea, may the wrathful goddess turn favorably towards me ! 

May the brazier that smoked darkly flame high again ! 

May my quenchfed torch be rekindled. 

Portion of a Prayer by Nebuchadnezzar the Great of Babylon 
to Marduk 

eternal sovereign lord of the universe, grant that the 
name of the king whom thou lovest . . . may flourish, even 
according to thy will. Lead him in the right path, . . . 
Thou hast created me [Nebuchadnezzar] and to me hast 
committed the lordship over the peoples. According to thy 
mercy, lord, which thou sheddest upon all, may thy 
sovereignty be merciful! Set thou the fear of thy divine 
power in my heart ! Grant unto me that which is good in 
thy sight for thou it is who hast given me life. 1 

1 According to some writers this prayer of Nebuchadnezzar marks the 
highest ethical and religious development of the Babylonians. 


" The literary and archaeological remains of the Persian Empire 
are not great. We know of the nation of Cyrus and Darius mainly 
by their relations with other peoples, particularly with the Greeks, 
and our views of them are liable to distortion owing to this one- 
sided evidence. Undoubtedly the Persians were Orientals and 
subject to many of the Oriental infirmities : their government was 
a despotism; they were original in none of the fine arts, and 
learned only too rapidly the vices of the Babylonians, Egyptians, 
and other races which they subjugated. The conquest of Greece 
by them would have been a vast calamity ; nevertheless in judg- 
ing them it must never be forgotten that they were the first Aryan 
folk to build up an abiding empire. At the outset they appear 
as a .high-minded, unspoiled race issuing from the uplands of Asia 
with much of the noble simplicity and chivalry which characterized 
the later Germans. Their religion was superior to any other 
Asiatic faith save that of the Jews. Even their abject devotion 
to their king has its finer side, with its display of absolute obedi- 
ence and loyalty. They were in short a race quite worthy to 
conquer Babylonia, Lydia, and Egypt, and to measure spears with 
the Hellenes for the leadership of the world. 


Cylinder Inscription, " Records of the Past " (2d series), vol. V, p. 165 ff. 

Cyrus the Persian took Babylon probably in 538 B.C. The 
last king of Babylonia (Nabonidus) with his crown prince Belshazzar 
seems to have succumbed after very little fighting. Probably 
they were more or less usurpers, and did not have the support 
of part of the priesthood; while Cyrus, although a Zoroastrian, 



granted full tolerance, and affected to patronize the Babylonian 
divinities. The document here quoted is part of the official version 
put out after the capture, in which the susceptibilities of the 
citizens of Babylon are treated very tenderly, and Cyrus's coming 
is represented as something done at the behest of the local god 

Marduk [god of Babylon] appointed a prince who should 
guide them aright, the wish of the heart whom his hand 
upholds, even Cyrus the King of Ansan. 1 He has proclaimed 
his title ; for the sovereignty of all the world does he com- 
memorate his name. 

The county of Quti 2 . , . he has subjected to his feet; 
the men of the black heads [Babylonians] he has caused 
his hand to conquer. In justice and righteousness has he 
governed them. 

Marduk the great lord, the restorer of his people, beheld 
with joy the deeds of his vicegerent, who was righteous in 
hand and heart. To his city of Babylon he summoned 
him to march. . . . Like a friend and a comrade he went 
at his side. The weapons of his vast army, whose number, 
like the waters of a river, could not be known, were mar- 
shaled in order and spread itself at his side. 

Without fighting and battle Marduk caused him to enter 
into Babylon. His city of Babylon he spared. EFabonidus 
the king, who had sought a hiding place, who had revered 
not Marduk, the god gave into Cyrus's hand. 

The men of Babylon all of them, and the whole of Sumer 
and Accad, the nobles and the high priest bowed themselves 
before him. They kissed his feet, they rejoiced at his 
sovereignty. Their faces shone. 

The Lord Marduk, who benefits all men in peril and fear 
has made strong his name. 

[Cyrus goes on to boast of his successes, saying,] all the 
kings who inhabit the high places of all regions from the 

* Ansan was one of Cyrus's original kingdoms. * Modern Kurdistan. 


Upper Sea to the Lower Sea, 1 the inhabitants of the inlands, 
the kings of Syria and the inhabitants of tents, all of them 
brought their rich tribute, and in Babylon kissed my feet. 


The Bible, Book of Isaiah, chap. XLV, 1-4, chap. XLVI, 1-2 

To the monotheistic Jews exiled in Babylon the conquest by 
Cyrus must have seemed a deliverance. There was much in com- 
mon between the worshipper of the righteous Jehovah and the 
worshipper of the righteous Ahura-Mazda. Very possibly Hebrews 
within the gates had assisted Cyrus's entrance. His victory was 
hailed as a triumph wrought by the aid of Jehovah over the op- 
pressive idolaters of Babylon : and certain it is that under the 
Persian rule Jerusalem was rebuilt and the Jews enjoyed not a 
little favor from the government. 

Thus saith Jehovah to his anointed, to Cyrus whose right 
hand I have holden, to subdue peoples before him : 

I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two- 
leaved gates [of Babylon] and the gates shall not be shut 
[against him]. 

I will go before thee [0 Cyrus], and I will make straight 
the crooked places. 

I will break in pieces the gates of brass. 

I will cut in sunder the bars of iron. 

And I will give thee the treasures of darkness : and the 
hidden hordes of riches: that thou mayest know that I 
Jehovah who called thee by thy name, am the God of 

For Jacob my servant's sake, and Israel mine elect, I have 
even called thee by thy name : I have surnamed thee, though 
thou hast not known me. 

[Then somewhat later the prophet glories over the triumph of 
monotheistic Persians over the gods of Babylon.] 

1 From Lake Van in Armenia to the Persian Golf. 


Bel boweth down, 

Nabu stoopeth also. 

Their idols were upon the beasts and the cattle. 

Your carriages [men of Babylon] were a heavy burden : 
yea, a heavy burden to the weary beast : [but now] 

They stoop, they bow down together. 

They could not deliver the burden, but themselves are 
gone into captivity. 


Rawlinson's Translation, in the Rawlinson "Herodotus," Ed. 1862, 
vol. H,p. 490 

Behistun is on the western frontier of ancient Media, on the 
road from Babylon to Ecbatana, a great thoroughfare in the days of 
Persian supremacy. The writing is engraved on the face of a cliff 
that rises 1700 feet high, and the inscription itself is 300 feet 
from the base of the rock, and can only be reached with difficulty 
and peril. It is in three languages, Persian, Babylonian, and Susian. 
The translation is abridged from that of Colonel Eawlinson a 
distinguished English explorer who fixes the date at 516 B.C. 

In many ways this is among the most important and interesting 
inscriptions preserved from antiquity. It both confirms many of 
the stories of Herodotus, and also corrects him as to certain details. 
While no doubt the "royal scribes " are responsible for its peculiar 
literary form, it is very likely we are given what the mighty Darius 
(reigned 521 to 485 B.C.) himself wished to have pass as the true 
record of his deeds and greatness. A tone of genuine piety runs 
through the inscription, and one gets a clear idea, conveyed 
with less than the usual Oriental boasting, of how great were the 
perils Darius had to overcome with his stout heart and military 
genius. Darius is justly regarded as the second founder of the 
Persian monarchy. Thanks to his energy and the brave loyalty of 
his native Persians, the Pseudo-Bardiya was deposed, a vast number 
of rebels crushed, and the Persian Empire put on so firm a basis 
that it lasted down to the time of Alexander. Darius was an infin- 
itely more admirable ruler than such Assyrians as Sennacherib. 


I am Darius the great king, the king of kings, the king of 
the subject provinces, the son of Hystaspes, the grandson of 
Arsames, the Achsemenian. 

Says Darius the King . . . from antiquity our family 
have been kings. 

Says Darius the King, There are eight of my race who 
have been kings before me, I am the ninth. 

Says Darius the King, By the grace of Ahura-Mazda I am 
king, Ahura-Mazda has granted me the empire. 

Says Darius the King, These are the countries which have 
come unto me, by the grace of Ahura-Mazda I have become 
king over them ; Persia, Susiana, Babylonia, Assyria, 
Arabia, Egypt, . . . Ionia, Media, Armenia, Cappadocia, 
Parthia, Bactria, the Sacae * [and other lands J in all twenty- 
three provinces. 

Says Darius the King: Within those counties the man 
who was good, him have I right well cherished. Whoever 
was evil, him have I utterly rooted out. By the grace of 
Ahuar-Mazda these are the countries by whom my laws have 
been observed ; as it has been said to them by me so by them 
it has been done. 

Says Darius the King: This is what was done by me 
after I became king. There was a man named Cambyses 
the son of Cyrus who was king before me [529 to 522 B.C.]. 
Of that Cambyses there was a brother, Bardiya was 
his name. . . . Presently Cambyses slew this Bardiya. 
When he had slain Bardiya it was not known to the people 
that Bardiya was slain; then Cambyses proceeded to [the 
conquest of] Egypt. When Cambyses had gone thither to 
Egypt the state became wicked. Then the Lie abounded in 
the land, in Persia, in Media, and in the other provinces. 

Says Darius the King : Next there arose a certain man, a 
Magian, named Gaumata. . . . Thus he lied to the state, "I 
am Bardiya, son of Cyrus and brother of Cambyses." Then 

i A nomadic people of Central Asia, near sources of Oxus and Jaxartes. 


the whole empire became rebellious ; from Cambyses it went 
over to him, Persia, Media, and all the other provinces. 
He seized the empire. . . , Afterward Cambyses, unable to 
endure this, died. 

Says Darius the King: The empire of which Gaumata 
the Magian dispossessed Cambyses, that Empire from the 
olden time had been long in our family. After Gaumata 
had dispossessed Cambyses ... he did according to his 
desire, he became king. 

Says Darius the King: There was not a man, neither 
Persian nor Median nor any of our family, who could dis- 
possess that Gaumata of the crown. The state feared him 
exceedingly. He slew many people who had known the old 
Bardiya. and for this reason he slew them, " Lest they 
should recognize that I am not Bardiya the son of Cyrus." 
No one dared to say anything concerning Gaumata until I 
arrived. Then I prayed unto Ahura-Mazda. He brought 
me help. On the tenth day of the month Bagaydish, then it 
was that with my faithful men I slew Gaumata and his chief 
followers. At the fort Sictachotes in that district of Media 
called Nissea there I slew him. I dispossessed him of the 
empire. By the grace of Ahura-Mazda I became king. He 
granted me the scepter. 

Says Darius the King : The empire that had been taken 
from our family that I recovered. I rooted it in its place. 
. . . The temples which Gaumata had destroyed I restored. 
The sacred offices of the state, both the religious chants and 
the worship, I restored to the people who had been deprived 
of them by Gaumata. I established the state in its place 
both in Persia, Media, and in the provinces. . . . 

Says Darius the King : When I had slain Gaumata the 
Magian, then a man named Atrines arose ... to the state 
of Susiana he said, " I am the king of Susiana." Then the 
Susianians became rebellious, they went over to Atrines, he 
became king over Susiana. And a man, a Babylonian 


Nidintabeius by name, he arose, to the state of Babylon 
he falsely declared "I am Xabuchodrossor, the son of 
Nabonidus " ; l afterward the whole state of Babylon became 
rebellious. He seized the kingdom of Babylonia. 

How Darius icon back the Rebellious Provinces 

Says Darius the King: Then I went to Susa. That 
Atrines was brought to me a prisoner. I slew him. 

Says Darius the King : Then I went to Babylon against 
that Nidintabelus. . . . His people held the Tigris. There 
they were posted and they had boats. There I approached 
a detachment on rafts. I brought the enemy into difficulty. 
I carried their position. Ahura-Mazda brought me help. 
By His grace I crossed the Tigris. There I slew many of 
the troops of that Nidintabeius. On the twenty-sixth day 
of the month Atriyata it was we fought the battle. 

Says Darius the King: Then I went to Babylon. When I 
was near to Babylon, at the city called Zazana, on the 
Euphrates, there it was that Nidintabeius, who was called 
Nabuchodrossor, came with his forces against me to do battle. 
Then we fought a battle. Ahura-Mazda helped me; by His 
grace I slew many of the troops of Nidintabeius. The 
enemy was driven (?) into the water. The water destroyed 

Says Darius the King: Then Nidintabeius with the 
horsemen that were faithful to him fled to Babylon. Then 
I went to Babylon. By the grace of Ahura-Mazda 1 both 
took Babylon, and seized that Nidintabeius. 

Then I slew that Nidintabeius at Babylon. 

Says Darius the King: while I was at Babylon these 

are the countries that revolted against me, Persia, Media, 

Assyria, Armenia, Parthia, Margiana, Sattagydia, Sacia. 

[In Susiana also arose another usurper, one Martiya, but] 

1 The last Babylonian king before the conquest by Cyrus. 


Says Darius the King : While I was moving a little in 
the direction of Susiana, then the Susianians, fearing me, 
seized that Martiya. He who was their chief slew him. 

Says Darius the King : A man named Phraortes, a Mede, 
he rose up. To the state of Media he said, " I am Athrites 
of the race of Cynaxares. " l Then the Median troops that 
were with him revolted ; they went over to him ; he became 
king over Media. 

Says Darius the King : The army of Persians and Medes 
that was with me remained faithful to me. Then I sent 
forth troops ; Hydarnes, a Persian, I made their leader, and 
thus I spake to them, " Go forth and smite the Median state 
that does not acknowledge me." Then Hydarnes marched 
with his army ; when he reached Media, at a city in Media 
named Marus (?), he fought a battle with the Medes. The 
leader of the Medes could not resist him, Ahura-Mazda 
brought help to me, by His grace the troops of Hydarnes 
utterly defeated that rebel army. . . . Then that army of 
mine waited for me 2 . . . until I arrived in Media. . . . 

[Other generals of Darius were in the meantime crushing the 
formidable revolt in Armenia.] 

Says Darius the King: Then I went out from Babylon, 
I proceeded to Media. When I reached . . a city called 
Kudrusia, there Phraortes, who was called " King of Media," 
came with a host to give me battle. Then we fought a bat- 
tle. Ahura-Mazda aided me ; with His help I entirely de- 
feated the army of Phraortes. 

Says Darius the King: Then Phraortes . . . fled to a 
part of Media called Rhages. There I sent an army, by 
which he was taken and brought before me. I cut off his 
nose, and his ears, and his tongue (?), and I led him away 

1 And therefore of the old Median royal house, before the Persian 

2 This would hardly have happened if the rebel Medes had really been 
" utterly defeated." 


captive. He was kept captive before my door; all the 
kingdom beheld him. Then I crucified him at Ecbatana ; 
and his chief followers I slew within the citadel of Ecbatana. 

[In similar manner Darius tells how the rebels in Sagartia, 
Parthia, Margiana, Bactria, etc., were crushed by him. There 
was a second revolt in Babylonia, another false Bardiya arose in 
Persia, but Darius subdued all his enemies. The inscription 
continues :] 

Says Darius the King: This is what I have done. By the 
grace of Ahura-Mazda I have accomplished the whole. 
After that [other rebel] kings arose against me. I fought 
nineteen battles. By Ahura-Mazda's grace I smote them 
and took nine kings prisoners. [Then follows a list of the 
rebels and the provinces that followed them] . . . 

Darius* s Instructions to his Successor 

Says Darius the King : Thou that mayest be king after 
me, keep thyself utterly from lies. 1 The man who may be 
a liar, him destroy utterly. If thou shalt thus do, my coun- 
try will remain in its integrity. 

Says Darius the King : These are the deeds I have done. 
By the grace of Ahura-Mazda have I executed the whole. 
Thou who shalt read this tablet hereafter, let that which I 
have done be a warning to thee, that thou lie not. . . . 

Says Darius the King: Beware, my successor (?), lest 
that which has been wrought by me, be not by thee con- 
cealed. If thou conceal not this edict, but tell it to the 
country, may Ahura-Mazda be a friend to thee, may thy 
children be many, 2 and mayest thou live long. 

Says Darius the King : This is the reason that Ahura- 
Mazda and the other heavenly powers helped me, because 
I was not wicked, nor was I a liar, nor was I tyrannical. 

1 The cardinal sin, according to Zoroastrian ethics. 

a A numerous posterity was among the highest goods in Persia. 


... He who labored for my family, him I have cherished ; 
he who has been hostile (?) to me, him have I utterly 

Says Darius the King : Thou who mayest be king after- 
ward, the man that is a liar and an evil-doer (?) befriend him 
not. Destroy such with the edge of the sword. 

[The remainder of the tablet, so far as it can still be read, in- 
vokes blessings on whoever shall preserve the inscription, invokes 
curses on any who may destroy it, gives a list of the six friends of 
Darius who aided him to slay Gaumata, the usurper, and gives a 
much mutilated account of still another revolt that Darius quelled 
in Susiana.] 


Herodotus, book VIII, chap. 118. Rawlinson, Translator 

The Persians paid an implicit obedience to their king, even be- 
yond the majority of Oriental peoples. To a certain extent this 
devotion was a national advantage, leading to acts of marvelous 
self-sacrifice for the common cause which the king represented. 
At other times it ran into sheer absurdities and servility, as in the 
case of a captain, who, when ordered by the sovereign to be bas- 
tinadoed, "congratulated himself that the king had deigned to 
notice his existence." The anecdote here cited from the reign of 
Xerxes (485 to 465 B.C.) illustrates the attitude of the great Per- 
sian nobles to a very exacting and incompetent master. 

It is said that when Xerxes on his way from Athens [re- 
treating from Greece after his unsuccessful invasion] : ar- 
rived at Eion upon the Strymon, he gave up traveling by 
land, and embarked himself on board a Phoenician ship, and 
so crossed into Asia. On his voyage the ship was assailed 
by a strong wind blowing from the mouth of the Strymon, 
which caused the sea to run high. As the storm increased, 
and the ship labored heavily, because of the number of the 
Persians who had come in. the king's train, and who now 


crowded the deck, Xerxes was seized with fear, and called 
out to the helmsman in a loud voice, asking him, if there 
were any means whereby they might escape the danger. 
"No means, master," the helmsman answered, unless we 
could be quit of these too numerous passengers." Xerxes, 
they say, on hearing this, addressed the Persians as follows : 
" Men of Persia," he said, " now is the time for you to show 
what love ye bear your king. My safety, as it seems, de- 
pends wholly upon you." So spake the king; and the Per- 
sians instantly made obeisance, and then leapt over into the sea. 
Thus was the ship lightened, and Xerxes got safe to Asia. 
As soon as he had reached the shore, he sent for the helms- 
man, and gave him a golden crown because he had preserved 
the life of the king, but because he had caused the death 
of a number of Persians, he ordered his head to be struck 
from his shoulders. 


Adapted from the Yasna (chap. XXX) of the Zend-Avesta, 
Bartholomse, Translator 

Certain investigators have argued that Zoroaster (more correctly 
Zarathustra) never lived, that he and his ministry were part of a 
network of myth. It seems very probable, however, that Zoroaster 
was an historic personage, who sometime about 1000 B.C. passed 
among the rude Aryan tribes on the uplands of mid-Asia, preaching 
a stern high doctrine of righteousness, banishing the old Iranian 
superstitions, and developing a religion far nobler than almost all 
others in the East. Zoroaster seems to have taught a doctrine of 
dualism that formed a satisfactory rough-and-ready solution to the 
problem of sin and evil quite sufficient to meet the questionings 
of an unenlightened age. Along with this went a firm insistence on 
the necessity of personal truth and uprightness. The certainty of 
ultimate reward for the righteous and punishment for the wicked 
is emphasized in no hesitant terms. The discourse, here quoted, 
attributed to Zoroaster, has been likened to the "Sermon on 
the Mount," as giving the cardinal points of his notable gospel. 


Now do I proclaim it : ye that draw nigh hear what 
the wise should receive in their hearts even the songs ot 
praise and the holy rites which men in piety pay unto 
Ahura [the Lord] and the holy truths and precepts. Hidden 
were they aforetime, now they appear in the light. 

The two Spirits [there were], the Twain and skillfully 
created. Good and Evil were they in the beginning and 
thus in thought, in speech, in works. Betwixt these two 
rightly have the wise made choice: but not so the 

When these two spirits had agreed to institute life and 
death, and had decreed that finally the followers of the Lie 
[the misbelievers] should receive misery, and the followers 
of Truth should receive happiness, then of these Twain, the 
lying one chose the Evil, while the holier one, he who 
hath put on the firm heavens as a garment, he hath 
elected the Eight, and with him all who desire to do right 
in the sight of Ahura-Mazda. . . 

The daevas [demons] also made not the right choice : for 
whilst they debated folly mastered them therefore they 
chose the Evil. In the house of violence they gathered to 
destroy the life of human kind. 

But when vengeance has requited their violence, then 
Ahura-Mazda, surely the sovereign power will be given by thy 
Good Mind to those who have aided the. Truth to win the 
mastery over the Lie. 

Therefore will we hold to those who do betimes lead this 
life even to perfect righteousness. 

For then destruction shall smite the liar, while those who 
keep the good doctrine shall assemble unhindered in the 
beautiful abode [of the holy ones.] 

If then, men, ye lay in heart the laws established by 
Mazda, the good and the evil, the long torments for the 
lovers of falsehood, the bliss awaiting the true believers 
well shall it be with you. 



Adapted from Yast XXII (Darmesteter, Translator) " Sacred Books of the 
/' vol. IH, part II, p. 315 ff. 

In the portion of the Zeud-A vesta culled the Yasts occur some 
of the most exalted passages of the Zoroastrian scriptures. The 
tone is often noble, poetic, and far above the spiritual level of the 
average of the "Sacred Books" of the Orient. Probably most 
Westerners will assent to the suggestion that the best parts of the 
Zend-Avesta come closer to the high standard set by the Hebrew 
Scriptures, than any other Oriental writing. The passage here 
given gives a highly poetic picture of the reception of the Blessed 
into Paradise. 

At the head of the Chinvat Bridge, betwixt this world 
and the next, when the soul goes over it, there comes a fair, 
white-armed and beautiful figure, like a maid in her fifteenth 
year, as fair as the fairest things in the world. And the 
soul of the true believer speaks to her, "What maid art 
thou, all surpassing in thy beauty?" And she makes 
answer, " youth of good thought, good works, and good 
deeds, of good religion : I am thine own conscience." 

Then pass the souls of the righteous to the golden seat 
of Ahura-Mazda, of the Archangels, to Garo-nmano, " The 
Abode of Song." 

[Next as the antithesis, the Zend-Avesta tells how the souls of 
the wicked are met by a foul hag and are plunged into endless tor- 

The Zoroastrian Belief in the Deified Dead 

We worship the Eravashis [deified spirits] of the holy 
men of the lands of the Aryans : ... of the women of the 
lands of the Aryans : yea of the holy men and holy women 
of all the lands. 


We worship the goodly, powerful, kindly Fravashis of 
the most rejoicing Fire. . . . We sacrifice unto the Fra- 
vashis of those that have been: of those that will be : to all 
the Fravashis of all nations, and especially to those of the 
friendly nations ! 

The Zoroastrian Hymn to the star Tishtrya (Sinus) 

We sacrifice to Tishtrya, the bright star and glorious, who 
moves in light with the stars that have in them the seed of 
the waters: whom Ahura-Mazda has established as a lord 
and overseer above all stars. . . . 

We sacrifice unto Tishtrya, the bright star, and glorious, 
for whom desire the standing waters and the running spring- 
waters, the stream waters and the rain waters: [that he 
cause the clouds to send down rain]. . . , 

We sacrifice unto Tishtrya, the bright star and glorious : 
whose rising is watched by men who live on the crops of 
the field: by the wise chieftains: by wild beasts on the 
hills, by tame beasts running on the plain lands ; as he opines 
up to the country, they watch him, [to see] whether the 
presage of the year be foul or favorable : each man think- 
ing within his heart, " How shall the Aryan countries be 
fertile ? " 


Herodotus, book 1, 131-139. Rawlinson, Translator 

Herodotus, the famous Greek historian, in his travels as far as 
Babylon, about 450 B.C., had ample opportunity to see the 
Persians and their customs. If in points he reports inaccurately, 
the main details are probably correct. 

The customs which I know the Persians to observe are 
the following. They have no images of the gods, no temples 
nor altars, and consider the use of them a sign of folly. 
This comes, I think, from their not believing the gods to 


have the same nature with men, as the Greeks imagine. 
Their wont, however, is to ascend to the summits of the lofti- 
est mountains and there to offer sacrifice to Zeus [ = Ahura- 
Mazda], which is the name they give to the whole circuit of 
the firmament. 

To these gods the Persians offer sacrifice in the following 
manner : they raise no altar, light no fire, pour no libations ; 
there is no sound of the flute, no putting on of chaplets, no 
consecrated barley cake ; but the man who wishes to sacri- 
fice brings his victim to a spot of ground which is free from 
pollution, and then calls upon the name of the god to whom 
he intends to offer. It is usual to have the turban encircled 
with a wreath, most commonly of myrtle. The sacrificer is 
not allowed to pray for blessings on himself alone, but he 
prays for the welfare of the king and of the whole Persian 
people, among whom he is of necessity included. He cuts 
the victim in pieces, and having boiled the flesh, he lays it 
out upon the tenderest herbage he can find, trefoil especially. 
When all is ready, one of the Magi comes forward and chants 
a hymn, which they say recounts the origin of the gods. It 
is not lawful to offer a sacrifice unless there is a Magus 
present. After waiting a short time the sacrificer" carries 
the flesh of the victim away with him, and makes whatever 
use of it he may please. 

It is also their general practice to deliberate upon affairs 
of weight when they are drunk ; and then on the morrow, 
when they are sober, the decision to which they came the 
night before is put before them by the master of the house 
in which it was made ; and if it is then approved of, they 
act upon it ; if not, they set it aside. Sometimes, however, 
they are sober at their first deliberation, but in this case 
they always reconsider the matter under the influence of 

When they meet each other in the street, you may know 
if the persons meeting are of equal rank by the following 


token : if they are, instead of speaking, they kiss each other 
on the lips. In the case where one is a little inferior to the 
other, the kiss is given on the cheek ; where the difference 
of rank is great, the inferior prostrates himself upon the 
ground. Of nations, they honor most their nearest neigh- 
bors, whom they esteem next to themselves ; those who live 
beyond these they honor in the second degree ; and so with 
the remainder, the farther they are removed, the less the 
esteem in which they hold them. The reason is, that they 
look upon themselves as very greatly superior in all respects 
to the rest of mankind, regarding others as approaching in 
excellence in proportion as they dwell nearer to them ; whence 
it comes to pass that those who are the farthest off must be 
the most degraded of mankind. 

There is no nation which so readily adopts foreign cus- 
toms as the Persians. 1 Thus, they have taken the dress of 
the Medes, considering it superior to their own ; and in war 
they wear the Egyptian breastplate. As soon as they hear 
of any luxury, they instantly make it their own. Each of 
them has several wives, and a still larger number of con- 

Next to prowess in arms, it is regarded as the greatest 
proof of manly excellence, to be the father of many sons. 
Every year the king sends rich gifts to the man who can 
show the largest number; for they hold that number is 
strength. Their sons are carefully instructed from their 
fifth to their twentieth year, in three things alone, to ride, 
to draw the bow, and to speak the truth. Until their fifth 
year they are not allowed to come into the sight of their 
father, but pass their lives with the women. This is done 
that, if the child die young, the father may not be afflicted 
by its loss. 

To my mind it is a wise rule, as also is the following 

i This was the greatest weakness of the Persians, and the chief cause of 
their decline. 


that the king shall not put any one to death for a single 
fault, and that none of the Persians shall visit a single fault 
in a slave with any extreme penalty ; hut in every case the 
services of the offender shall be set against his misdoings ; 
and if the latter be found to outweigh the former, the 
aggrieved party shall then proceed to punishment 

They hold it unlawful to talk of anything which it is un- 
lawful to do. The most disgraceful thing in the world, they 
think, is to tell a lie, the next worse to owe a debt, because 
among other reasons, the debtor is obliged to tell lies. 


Of the actual annals of the earliest dwellers in Hellas we know 
very little ; of their civilization we know a great deal. This is 
owing mainly to the archaeological remains discovered in the last 
generation at Mycenae, Tiryns, Troy, etc., and still more recently 
in Crete ; and even more to our priceless heritage in the Homeric 
poems. Host scholars are no longer willing to consider the 
" Siege of Troy " as a mere creation of the imagination, however 
much the true story of the fall of the royal city by the Hellespont 
may be overshadowed in the tales of the minstrels ; still less are 
they now prone to treat the descriptions of life in the Homeric 
poems as untypical of their day and age. It is probable enough 
that the ancient remains we find in Crete and on the Greek main- 
land are considerably older than the oldest parts of the " Iliad," l 
nevertheless the transitions in this earlier civilization were prob- 
ably made somewhat gradually ; and the " World of Homer " was 
a world that had kept certain common characteristics for many 
centuries. Besides a quotation from a modern writer as to the 
habits of the ancient Cretans, there are here presented a number 
of excerpts from the " Iliad" and "Odyssey" that illustrate thelife of 
the epic period, also a quotation from the still later poet Hesiod, 
who gives a picture of farming and trading conditions just as the 
Greek world was emerging into the clear light of history. 

C. H. and H B. Hawes, " Crete the Forerunner of Greece,' 1 p 26 ff. 

Very recently archaeologists have discovered in Crete the 
remains of a magnificent civilization that reached its highest 
1 Which in turn is considerably older than the " Odyssey." 


prosperity about 1500 B. c. and which had declined greatly b) 
the time of the so-called "Homeric Age" in Greece. It is nol 
likely that these Cretans were of the same race as the Greeks, 
who are now looked upon as intruders probably into the JEJgeac 
basin from the north; but it is likely that bold sailors oi 
Cnossos and the other Cretan cities gave the Homeric "Aehae- 
ans " many or most of their ideas of civilization. About 1450 
B.C. Cnossos was destroyed by invaders, arid the island never 
recovered its old prosperity. 

Pictures of the early Cretans have survived on the walls 
of Egyptian tombs and Cretan palaces, and we have small 
likenesses of them in bronze figurines, gem intaglios, and 
steatite reliefs. Making due allowance for artistic con- 
ventions, we may come to some fairly reliable conclusions. 
The men were bronzed as are the men of Crete today, with 
beardless faces and dark hair, which they wore coiled in 
three twists on their head, and falling in three long curls 
over their shoulders. The women's complexions were, 
no doubt, fairer ; artists politely represented them as white, 
while they used a copper hue for the men. Heads were 
small, features were rather sharp . . . and the women who 
dance and converse on the Cnossian walls have a self- 
assurance and sparkle that modern belles might envy. . . . 

Women's dress became more and more elaborate [during 
the ages of Cretan civilization] until it reached an astonish- 
ingly modern standard in the fifteenth century B.C. Care- 
ful cutting and fitting, fine sewing, and exquisite embroidery 
were called into play. We learn the result from the fres- 
coes and figurines : we find the lost needles and bodkins 
buried in Cretan houses. . . . Fashion favored bell- 
shaped skirts, the style of which is varied by flounces 
and bands, while often the skirt is flounced from top to 
bottom with ruffles of varying widths and colors. . . . 
[Speaking of the dress of a " Snake Goddess," Lady Evans 
says :] " The whole costume seems to consist of garments 


carefully sewn, and fitted to the shape without any flowing 
draperies. . . . The lines adopted are those considered 
ideal by the modern corset maker rather than those of the 
sculptor. . . ." 

[Men dressed much more simply, but sometimes wore feathered 
headdresses and turbans. Both sexes wore necklaces, and arm- 
lets, also beads of semiprecious stones, rock crystal, and blue 
paste or Kyanos.] 

Cretan Architecture 

[At the time of their highest prosperity the Cretans built their 
houses in a style more modem than classical] 

Houses built on a slope had basement doors connecting 
with a back door on the downhill side, while the entrance 
to the main floor was by a doorway flush with the street. 
Crossing the main entrance one found himself in a paved 
antechamber with several doors leading to the ground floor 
rooms. . . . Strong timbers were needed for the support 
of the second stories, for even upper floors were sometimes 
of stone, as in many modem Italian houses. Windows are 
represented in the faience copies of houses found at Cnossos, 
and are painted red, as if to indicate the use of an oiled 
and scarlet-tinted parchment where we to-day use glass. 

[Vastly more elaborate than these houses of the commonality 
were the great palaces.] 

The palace of Cnossos was a town in itself! It stood 
four stories high on the east side, and had a floor space of 
not less than four acres. ... It is a veritable maze of 
chambers, magazines, and courts disposed in well-defined 
groups of apartments, on certain broad lines of symmetry, 
but in a rambling style wholly opposed to the classic. 
Finely squared limestone, handsome blocks of gypsum, 
columns of cypress, brilliant wall paintings contributed to 
the splendid appearance. The palace possessed .two great 


courts, a theatrical area, audience chambers, bathrooms, and 
a drainage system not equaled in Europe between that day 
and the nineteenth century. Suitably secluded within this 
labyrinthian structure we find domestic apartments planned 
to please men and women of fastidious habits, exacting in 
their demand for ease and magnificence, 

[There are stone benches and platforms still preserved in the 
rooms, and besides these no doubt there were stools, chairs, rugs, 
etc., and traces survive of the panels of a splendid wooden chest 
inlaid with faience mosaic. Magnificent three and four-wicked 
lamps were used.] 

The richest decorations of Cretan rooms consisted in 
elaborate mural paintings between formal borders. . . . We 
can imagine the picturesque scenes in the halls of the 
palaces when the larger lamps were alight . . . sending a 
fitful glare through the columned chambers and lighting 
up the gayly colored costumes of lords and ladies listening 
to sea tales or the adventures of the bull chase. 

(In addition to this magnificence, there is ample evidence of 
developed industries, beautiful pottery and metal manufactures ; 
a great sea traffic especially to Egypt ; and many remains of a 
written language, at present undecipherable.) 


Abridged from " The mad," book H, 11. 50 fi\, fcang, Leaf, and Myers' 

What the Homeric Agora (Public Assembly) was, as well as the 
method of convening it, the conduct of business by the leading 
" King " and his fellow nobles, etc., is well set forth in this passage 
from the "Iliad," telling how Agamemnon assembled the Greeks to 
arrange a general assault upon the Trojans. For the sake of 
brevity the various speeches, often very interesting, are condensed, 
but the descriptive matter, important for historical purposes, is 
left intact. 


Now went the goddess Dawn to high Olympus foretelling 
daylight to Zeus and all the immortals : and the king 
[Agamemnon] bade the clear-voiced heralds summon to the 
assembly the flowing-haired Achaeans. So did those sum- 
mon, and these gathered with speed. 

But first the council of the great-hearted elders met be- 
side the ship of King Nestor the Pylos-born, and he that 
had assembled them [Agamemnon] then framed his cunning 
council : [declaring that he had had a dream presaging victory, 
therefore he urged the Achaeans to haste to arms.] " But 
first (said he) I will speak to make trial of them as is fitting, 
and will bid them flee with their benched ships, only do ye 
from this side and from that speak to hold them back." 

So spake he and sate him down: and there stood up among 
them Nestor, who was king of sandy Pylos. He of good in- 
tent made harangue, and said that [inasmuch as Agamem- 
non had beheld this dream, they should summon the 
Achaeans to battle]. 

Tlie Convening of the Assembly 

So spake he, and led the way from the council, and all 
the other sceptered chiefs rose with him and obeyed the 
shepherd of the host : and the people hastened to them. 
Even as when the tribes of thronging bees issue from some 
hollow rock, ever in fresh procession, and fly clustering 
among the flowers of spring, and some on this hand and 
some on that fly thick, even so from ships and huts before 
the low beach, marched forth their many tribes by companies 
to the place of assembly. . . . And the place of assemblage 
was in an uproar, and the earth echoed again as the hosts 
sate them down, and there was turmoil. Nine heralds re- 
strained them with shouting, if perchance they might 
refrain from clamor, and hearken to their kings the fos- 
terlings of Zeus. And hardly at last would the people sit, 


and keep them to their benches and cease from noise. Then 
stood up Lord Agamemnon bearing his scepter that He- 
phaestos had wrought curiously. . . . Thereon he leaned and 
spake his saying to the Argives. . . . FHe bemoaned the ill 
fate of the war, the nine years of fighting and no victory : 
now since all was Tain, bitter as disappointment was], "let 
us flee with our ships to our dear native land: for now shall 
we never take wide- waved Troy." 

So spake he, and stirred the spirit in the breasts of all 
throughout the multitude as many as had not heard the coun- 
cil [of the chiefs]. And the assembly swayed like high sea- 
waves of the Icarian !Main l that east wind and south wind 
raise, rushing upon them from the clouds of Father Zeus. 
And even as when the west wind cometh to stir a deep corn- 
field with violent blast, and the ears bow down, so was all 
the assembly stirred, and they with shouting hasted towards 
the ships; and the dust from beneath their feet rose and 
stood on high. And they bade each man his neighbor to 
seize the ships and drag them into the bright salt sea, and 
cleared out the launching ways : and the noise went up to 
heaven of their hurrying homeward ; and they began to take 
the props from beneath the ships. 

[Then the Argives would verily have abandoned Troy, had not 
Athene stirred up Odysseus to go out and persuade the folk to 
tarry a little.] 

How Odysseus restored Order 

He set him to a run and cast away his mantle which his 
herald gathered up, even Eurybates of Ithaca that waited 
on him. And himself he went to meet Agamemnon son of 
Atreus, and at his frand received the scepter of his sires, 
imperishable forever, wherewith he took his way amid the 
ships of the mail-clad Achaeans. 

i The Mid-^Egean near the island of Icaria. 


Whenever he found one that was a captain and man of 
mark he stood by his side and restrained him with gentle 
words : '' Good sir, it is not seemly to affright thee like a 
coward, but do thou sit thyself and make thy folk sit down. 
[Agamemnon is only putting us to trial. . . .] " 

But whatever man of the people he saw and found him 
shouting, him he drave with his scepter and chode him with 
loud words : " Good sir, sit still and hearken to the words 
of others who are thy betters. ... In no wise can we Achae- 
ans all be kings here. A multitude of masters is no good 
thing. Let there be one master, one king, to ivhom the son of 
crooked-counselling Cronos hath granted it." l 

So masterfully ranged he the host : and they hasted back 
to the assembly from ships and huts, with noise as when a 
wave of the loud-sounding sea roareth on the long beach and 
the main resoundeth. 

Ther sites the Demagogue 

Kow all the rest sat down, and kept their place upon the 
benches, only Thersites 2 still chattered on, the uncontrolled 
of speech, whose mind was full of words many and disorderly, 
wherewith to strive against the chiefs idly and in no good 
order, but even as he deemed he should make the Argives 
laugh. And he was ill-favored beyond all men that came 
to Ilios. Bandy-legged was he, and lame of one foot, and 
his two shoulders rounded, arched down upon his chest ; and 
over them his head was warped, and a scanty stubble sprouted 
out of it. 

Now with shrill shout he poured forth his upbraidings 
upon goodly Agamemnon. With him the Achseans were sore 

1 A saying often quoted later in Greece in defense of the claims of mon- 

2 In bringing in the interruption of Thersites and his discomfiture, the 
Homeric bard is introducing an incident very likely to appeal to the audi- 
ence in the princely halls where he would .be reciting. 


vexed and had indignation in their souls. But he with loud 
shout spoke and reviled Agamemnon . . . [calling the 
Achseans shameful fools and women for serving him longer 
in this purposeless, disastrous war, waged for his own 
selfish ends]. 

So spake Thersites, reviling Agamemnon shepherd of the 
host: but goodly Odysseus came straight at his side, and 
looking sternly at him with hard words rebuked him . . . 
[then] with his staff he smote his back and shoulders. And 
he bowed down and a big tear fell from him, and a bloody 
weal stood up from his back beneath the golden scepter. 
Then he sat down and was amazed, and in pain with a help- 
less look wiped away the tear . . . [while the others made 
mock at him]. 

How the Chief addressed the People 

Then up rose Odysseus waster of cities with the scepter 
in his hand. And by his side bright-eyed Athene in the 
likeness of a herald bade the multitude keep silence, that 
the sons of the Achseans, both the nearest and the farthest, 
might hear his words and giveheed to his counsel. . . . [And 
set forth to them that though the siege had been weary, 
mighty omens as interpreted by the seers made it plain 
that now in the tenth year of the siege, Troy must perish : 
therefore let them abide for the battle.] 

So spake he, and the Argives shouted aloud, and all 
around the ships echoed terribly to the voice of the Achseans 
as they praised the saying of godlike Odysseus. And then 
[Nestor spoke urging all to battle, and counseling Aga- 
memnon to separate the captains and men into their tribes and 
companies]. " So wilt thou know whether it is by divine 
command that thou shalt not take the city, or by the 
baseness of thy warriors, and their ill skill in battle/' 

[To him Agamemnon answered assenting and then com 


manded the Achaeans :] " Go ye now to your meal that we 
may join the battle. Let each man sharpen well his spear 
and bestow well his shield, and let him give his fleet-footed 
steeds their meal, and look well to his chariot on every side, 
and take thought for battle, that all day long we may con- 
fcend in hateful war. ... On each man's breast shall the 
baldric of his covering shield be wet with sweat, and his 
hand shall grow faint about the spear, and each man's horse 
shall sweat as he draweth the polished chariot. And whom- 
soever I perceive minded to tarry far from the fight beside 
the beaked ships, for him shall there be no hope to escape 
the dogs and birds of prey." 

Agamemnon offers Public Prayer 

So spake he, and the Argives shouted aloud, like a wave, 
when the south wind corneth and stirreth it. ... And they 
stood up and scattered in haste throughout the ships, and 
took their meal. And they did sacrifice each man to the 
everlasting gods, praying for escape from death and the 
tumult of battle. But Agamemnon, king of men, slew a fat 
bull of five years to most mighty Cronion [Zeus], and called 
the elders [to join in the sacrifice], . . . They stood around 
the bull and took the barley meal. And Agamemnon made 
his prayer in their midst, and said : 

" Zeus, most glorious, most great, god of the storm cloud, 
that dwellest in the heaven, vouchsafe that the sun shall 
not set on us, nor the darkness come near till I have laid 
low upon the earth Priam's palace smirched with smoke, and 
burnt the doorways thereof with consuming fire : and rent 
from Hector's breast his doublet cleft with the blade; while 
about him full many of his comrades prone in the dust do 
bite the earth." ' 

Now when they had prayed and sprinkled the barley 
i Note the absolutely Pagan sentiments of this prayer. 


meal they first drew back the bull's head, and cut his throat 
and flayed him, and cut slices from the thighs and wrapped 
them in fat, making a double fold, and laid raw collops 
thereon. And these they burnt on cleft wood stripped of 
leaves, and spitted the vitals and laid them over Hephaestos's 
flame. . . . [They roasted the flesh, and feasted thereon: 
then Nestor counseled that the folk be ordered to the fight, 
and] straightway Agamemnon bade the clear-voiced heralds 
summon to battle the flowing-haired Achseans. 


" The Iliad," book X, 11. 315 ff ., Lang, Leaf, and Myers' Translation 

The episode of Dolon is very typical of the whole style of 
Homeric warfare. It is substantially complete in itself, and illus- 
trates alike the method of fighting by personal duel and ambush, 
and the premium that the Greek genius put upon successful guile. 
Odysseus only increased the esteem in which his comrades held 
him by giving Dolon an implied promise of his life if he would 
betray the positions of the Trojans, and then allowing Diomedes 
to slaughter the prisoner in cold blood. 

Now there was among the Trojans one Dolon, the son of 
Eumedes, the godlike herald, and he was rich in gold and 
rich in bronze, and verily he was ill-favored to look upon 
but swift of foot; now he was an only son among five 
sisters. So spake he then a word to the Trojans and to 
Hector : [promising that he would go and spy out all the 
schemings of the Achseans, if he were promised the horses 
and chariot of Achilles]. 

And Hector took the staff in his hand and swore to him : 
" Now let Zeus himself be witness, and the loud-thundering 
lord of Hera, that no other man of Troy shall mount those 
horses, but thou, I declare, shalt rejoice in them forever." 

So spake he and swore a bootless oath thereto, and aroused 
Dolon to go. And straightway he cast on his shoulders his 


crooked bow, and did on thereover the skin of a gray wolf, 
and on his head a helm of ferret skin, and took a sharp 
javelin, and went on his way to the ships from the host. 
But he was not like to come back from the ships and bring 
word to Hector. 

Now when he had left the throng of men and horses, he 
went forth eagerly on the way, and Odysseus . . . was ware 
of him as he approached, and said unto Dioinedes [that 
here was a spy, whom they would follow stealthily and 
capture]. . . . 

So turning out of the path they lay down among the 
bodies of the dead: and swiftly Dolon ran past them in 
his witlessness. But when he was as far off as the length of 
a furrow made by mules for they are better by far than 
kine, to drag the jointed plow through the deep fallow 
the twain ran after him, and he stood still when he heard 
the sound, supposing in his heart they were friends coine 
from the Trojans to turn him back at the countermand of 
Hector. But when they were about a spear cast off, or even 
less, he knew them for foemen, and stirred his swift limbs 
to fly, and speedily they started in pursuit 

And as when two sharp-toothed hounds well skilled in 
the chase press ever hard on a doe or a hare through a 
wooded land, and it runs screaming before them, even so 
Tydeus's son [Diomedes] and Odysseus, the sacker of cities, 
cut Dolon off from the host and ever pursued after him. . . . 
[Then Diomedes cast his spear], but of his own will he 
missed the man, and passing over his right shoulder the 
point of the polished spear stuck fast in the ground, and 
Dolon stood in great dread and trembling, and the teeth 
chattered in his mouth, and he was green with fear. Then 
the twain came to him panting and gripped his hands, and 
weeping he spake, "Take me alive, and I will ransom 
myself, for within our house is bronze and gold and 
smithied iron. . . ." < 


[Then Odysseus guilefully told him not to think of death," 
but to confess why he had come, and Do! on weeping con- 
fessed his purpose, and revealed to the questioners how all 
the host of the Trojans lay encamped: but when he was 
finished] strong Diomedes, looking grimly on him, said, 
" Put no thought of escape, Dolon, in thine heart for all the 
good tidings thou hast brought, once you have come into 
our hands. For if now we release you or let you go, on 
some later day you will come to the swift ships of the 
Achaeans, either to play the spy or fight in open war, but if 
subdued beneath my hands you lose your life, never again 
will you prove a bane to the Argives." 

He spake, and that other with strong hand was about to 
touch his chin, and implore his mercy, but Diomedes smote 
him in the midst of the neck, rushing on him with the 
sword, and cut through both sinews, and the head of him 
still speaking was mingled in the dust. And they stripped 
him of the casque . . . and of his wolfskin, and his bended 
bow, and his long spear: and these to Athens the Giver 
of Spoil did noble Odysseus hold aloft in his hand, and he 
prayed, saying, " Rejoice, Goddess, in these, for to thee 
first of all the Immortals in Olympus will we call for aid ; 
nay, but yet again send us on against the horses and the 
sleeping places of the men of Thrace ! " 


" The Diad," book XVHi, 11. 479-610 passim. Adapted from Lang, Leaf, 
and Myers' Translation 

The following passage from the " Iliad " is famous beyond most 
portions of the great poem for its informational value. It would 
have indeed taken a god to have wrought all the scenes mentioned 
herein, upon any battle shield ; but as a succession of pictures of 
what the bard conceived to be typical situations in the society of 
his age this description is unsurpassed. It is as if a series of bril- 


liant photographs of the life of three thousand years ago were sub- 
mitted to us for patient, careful study. The passage itself calls 
for little preliminary comment. The shield is of course assumed 
to be made in the workshop of Hephsestos the Fire God, whither 
Thetis, mother of Achilles, has resorted, seeking a new suit of armor 
for her redoubtable son. 

And first Hephaestos fashioned a shield great and strong, 
adorning it all over, and set thereto a shining rim, triple, 
bright-glancing, and therefrom a silver baldric. 

There wrought he the earth, and the heavens and the 
sea, and the unwearying sun, and the moon waxing to the 
full, and the signs every one wherewith the heavens are 
crowned, Pleiads and Hyads and Orion's might, and the 
Bear which men call also the Wain, her that turneth in 
her place and watcheth Orion, and alone hath no part in 
the baths of Ocean. 1 

The City at Peace 

Therein too he fashioned two fair cities. In the one 
were espousals and marriage feasts : and beneath the torch- 
light they were leading the brides from their chambers 
through the city, while the bridal song rose loud. And 
young men were whirling in the dance, and among them flutes 
and viols sounded high: and women standing each at her 
door were admiring. But the [older] folk were gathered at 
the assembly place : for a strife was arisen, two men con- 
tending about the blood ransom of a man slain. The one 
avowed he had paid all, but the other denied he had re- 
ceived anything, and each trusted to his witness to prove 
his cause. And the people were cheering on both as they 
took either side. And heralds kept order among the folk, 
while the elders were sitting on polished stones in the 
sacred circle, and holding in their hands staves given them 

* This enumeration gives a very fair idea of the extent of Homeric 


by the loud-voiced heralds. 1 Then before the folk they 
rose and gave each man in turn his judgment. And in the 
midst lay two talents of gold, to fall to him who should 
plead among them most righteously. 

TJie City at War 

But round about the other city were two armies in siege 
with glittering arms. Their counsels were divided, either to 
sack the town, or to share all with the townsfolk [in way of 
ransom] whatsoever wealth the fair city held. But the be- 
sieged were not yielding, but were arming for an ambush : 
while on their walls to guard stood their dear wives and 
children, and with these the old men. [So they laid their 
ambush at the river, whither were driven the besiegers' 
cattle trains.] But the besiegers, as they sat [at council] 
before the pulpits [whence the orators spoke] heard much 
din among the oxen. Forthwith they mounted [their 
chariots] behind their high-stepping horses, and came up 
with speed. Then they arrayed their battle and fought 
beside the river banks, and smote one another with bronze- 
shod spears. 

The Farmstead Scenes 

Likewise he set in the shield a soft fresh-plowed field, 
rich tilth and wide, the third time plowed: and many 
plowers therein drove their yokes to and fro as they 
wheeled about. Whensoever they came to the boundary of 
the field and turned, then would a man come to each and 
give into his hands a goblet of sweet wine, while others 
would be turning back along the furrows, anxious to reach 
the boundary of the deep tilth. And the field grew black 
behind them. 

Furthermore he set therein a domain land deep in corn, 

1 They were given staves seemingly as a kind of token that they were 
entitled to sit in the council. 


where hinds were reaping with sharp sickles. Some arm- 
fuls were falling in rows to the earth along the swath, 
while others the sheaf-binders were binding in twisted 
bands of straw. Three sheaf-binders stood over them, 
while behind boys gathering corn and bearing it in their 
arms gave it constantly to the binders; and among them 
the lord was standing silently at the swath leaning on his 
staff and rejoicing in his heart. And henchmen apart be- 
neath an oak were preparing a feast, with a great ox they 
had sacrificed : while the women were strewing much barley 
to make the workers' supper. 

Tlie Vintage Scene 

Also he set therein a vineyard teeming plenteously with 
clusters: and one single pathway led to it, whereby the 
vintagers might go when they should gather the vintage. 
Here maidens and striplings in childish glee bare the sweet 
fruit in plaited baskets. And in the midst of them a boy 
made pleasant music on a clear-toned viol, and sang thereto 
a sweet Linos-song 1 with delicate voice; while the rest with 
feet falling together kept time with music and with song. 

Also the glorious lame god wrought therein a pasture in 
a fair glen, a great pasture of white sheep, and a stable and 
roofed huts and folds. 

The Scene from Crete 

Also did he devise a dancing place like unto the one which 
once, in wide Cnossos, Daedalus wrought for Ariadne of the 
lovely tresses. There were youths dancing and maidens of 
costly wooing, their hands on one another's wrists. Fine 
linen the maidens had on, and the youths well-woven doub- 
lets faintly glistening with oil. Fair wreaths had the 
maidens, and the youths daggers of gold hanging from silver 
1 Probably a lament for the dying summer. 


baldrics. And now they would run around with deft feet 
exceeding lightly, as when a potter sitting by his wheel 
maketh trial of it whether it run : and now anon they would 
run in lines to meet one another. And a great company 
stood around the lovely dance in joy ; and among them a 
divine minstrel was making music on his lyre, and through 
the midst of them, as he began his strain, two tumblers 


" The Odyssey," book VI, 11. 180-185, Butcher and Lang's Translation 

How, despite the barbarities of its warfare and manifold other 
evidences that civilization in the Homeric age was very young, a 
beautiful family life was possible, is well illustrated by the follow- 
ing fair wish addressed by Odysseus to his preserver, the high- 
minded Phaeacian maiden, Nausicaa. 

And may the Gods grant thee all thy heart's desires : 
a husband and a home, and a mind at one with his may they 
give, a good gift, for there is nothing mightier and nobler 
than when man and tcife are of one heart and mind in a house; 
a grief to their foes, and to their friends great joy; but 
their own hearts know it the best. 


" The Odyssey," book IV, 11. 1 if., Batcher and Lang's Translation 

At Sparta Telemachus, son of Odysseus, found King Menelaus 
inhabiting a palace far more magnificent than the paternal one at 
Ithaca. What the Homeric bard conceived an ideal royal house 
should be, and how he deemed noble guests ought to be received, 
is here set forth. Note (1) the prevalence of princely hospitality ; 
(2) that the sum of all worldly goods seemed to be a magnificent 

[Telemachus goes on a journey to Menelaus, king of Lacedaemon, 
to see if he can get any news of his father Odysseus.] 


They came to Lacedsemon, low lying amongst the caverned 
hills, and drove to the palace of famous Menelaus. Him 
they found giving a feast to his many kin, in honor of the 
wedding of his noble son and daughter [the daughter to the 
son of Achilles, the son to the daughter of Alector]. . . . 
Thus feasting through the great vaulted hall, the neighbors 
and kinsmen of Menelaus were making merry. 

Meanwhile these twain, Telemachus and the splendid son 
of Kestor [his escort], made halt at the entry of the gate, 
they and their horses. And the lord Eteonus came forth 
and saw them, the ready squire of renowned Menelaus : he 
went through the palace to bear the tidings to the shepherd 
of the people, and standing near spake to him winged 

" Menelaus, fosterling of Zeus, 1 here are wo strangers . . . 
two men like to the lineage of great Zeus himself. Say, shall 
we loose their swift horses from under the yoke, or send 
them onward to some other host who shall receive them 
kindly ? " 

Then sore displeased answered him fair-haired Menelaus, 
"Eteonus [now thou talkest folly . . .]. Surely we our- 
selves ate much hospitable cheer of other men, ere we twain 
came hither, even if in time to come Zeus haply give .us 
rest from harm. Nay, go, unyoke the horses of the strangers, 
and as for the men, lead them forward to the house to feast 
with us." 

So spake he, and Eteonus hasted from the hall, and called 
the other ready squires to follow him. So they loosed the 
sweating horses from beneath the yoke, and fastened them 
at the stalls of the horses, and threw beside them spelt, and 
therewith mixed white barley, then tilted the chariot up 
against the shining faces of the gateway, and led the men 
into the lordly hall. And they beheld and marveled as they 
gazed throughout the palace of the king, the fosterling of 
1 Note how a Homeric king would claim divine lineage. 

900 B.C.] A FARM LABORER 79 

Zeus : for there was a gleam as of the sun or moon through 
the lofty palace of renowned iMeiielaus. But after they had 
gazed their fill, they went to the polished baths and bathed. 
And when the maids had bathed them and anointed them 
with olive oil. and put on them fleecy cloaks and doublets? 
they sat on chairs by Menelaus son of Atreus [and joined 
in the feasting . . .]. So Menelaus of the fair hair greeted 
the twain and spake : " Break bread and be glad, and there- 
after when ye have supped, we will ask what men ye are : 
for the blood of your parents is not lost in you, but years of 
the line of men that are sceptered kings, the fosterlings of 
Zeus ; for no churls could beget sous like you." 

So spake he, and took and set before them the fat ox-chine 
roasted, which they had given him as his own mess by way 
of honor. And they stretched forth their hands upon the 
good cheer set before them. Xow when they had put from 
them the desire of meat and drink, Teleinachus spake to the 
son of Nestor, holding his head close to him, so that the 
others might not hear. 

" Son of Nestor, delight of my heart, mark the flashing of 
bronze through the echoing halls, and the flashing of gold 
and of amber, and of silver and of ivory. Such like, me- 
thinks, is the court of Olympian Zeus within, for the world 
of things that are here : wonder comes over me as I look 

[Whereupon Menelaus, overhearing, relates by what sore trials 
he came by all this wealth and glory.] 


" The Odyssey/ 1 book XVill, 11. 350 ff. Adapted from Batcher and Lang's 

In the Homeric age most of the field and house labor was per- 
formed by bondsmen whose condition, however, does not seem to 
have been very miserable. Free laborers, however, working for a 


hire in kind were not unknown, but they were a despised 
class, and only theoretically superior to the bondsmen. Note 
incidentally that manual labor, especially on the farm, was not 
held degrading to men of high rank. It was no insult to challenge 
Eurymachus to a plowing contest. 

[Eurymachus, an intruder into Odysseus's home and a suitor for 
his wife Penelope, ridicules Odysseus, who has returned disguised 
as a beggar.] 

Jeering he spoke to his friends : " ITot without the gods' 
pleasure has this fellow come hither to Odysseus's house 
at least the torchlight verily flares forth from that head of 
his, for there are no hairs however thin upon it." 

Then he spoke, addressing Odysseus, waster of cities: 
" Stranger, would you be my hired worker ? Then I might 
take you for my man upon my upland farm, and there 
you could gather stones for walls and set out tall trees. I 
would give you steady ration, and provide clothing, likewise 
shoes for your feet. However, since you are practiced only 
in rascality, you will not care to go and toil in the field, but 
will choose rather to go louting it through the land, that you 
may have wherewithal to feed your ever-hungry belly." 

Then Odysseus of many counsels answering him, said, 
"Eurymachus, I wish there might be a trial of labor betwixt 
us two, in the spring season when the long days begin. It 
should be in the deep grass, and I ought to have a crooked 
scythe and you another like it that we might try each other 
in the matter of labor, pushing clear until late eventide, and 
grass there should be in plenty. Or would again that there 
were oxen to drive, the very best that there are, large tawny 
ones, of equal age and strength to bear the yoke and endur- 
ance untiring ! And it should be a field four acres large, 
with soil to take the plow. Then you should see me, 
whether I would cut a clean furrow unbroken before ine, or 
no ! Or would that this very day Zeus might waken war 
whencesoever he would, and that I had a shield, two spears, 


and a helm of bronze, well fitting on my temples : then 
you would see me mingling in the forefront of the battle 
and you would not taunt me with this my belly ! " 


Hesiod's "Works and Days," 11. 380 ff., Bohn translatioa 
The extracts from Hesiod which follow are upon matters which 
a later age would cast in prose, not poetry. Under the guise of 
divers admonitions to his unjust and slothful brother Perses, the 
old hard of Boeotia has succeeded in preparing what we may call 
the first text book ever produced in a European language. The 
duty of hard work was never taught more industriously than by 
Hesiod, and through all his poems run evidences of the sullen dis- 
content felt in even his early century by the toiling " masses " against 
the lordly " classes." Hesiod has no gospel of revolution to preach : 
he simply sets forth the misery of the sluggard, and the relative 
happiness of the industrious. The instructions given in his poems 
often contain much shrewdness, and no doubt in their day repre- 
sented high worldly wisdom. The first extract here given is typical 
of his precepts for farmers ; the second gives some hints of the 
problems of the early sea traders. 

When the Pleiads, born of Atlas, rise, begin thy harvest; 
but thy plowing begin only when they set. Now these, 
mark thee, are hidden for forty nights and days, and again 
in the revolving years they appear first when the sickle is 
sharpened. . . . This truly is the law of the fields, as well as 
for them who dwell near the sea, as those who inhabit the 
wooded valleys, a fertile soil, afar from the swelling sea. 
Sow stripped, plow stripped, and work stripped, if thou 
wouldst gather the works of Demeter, all in their seasons, 
so that each may grow for thee in due time, lest in anywise, 

brought to want while awaiting them, thou must go 

begging to other men's houses, and so come to nothing. As 
e'en now thou (my brother) hast come to me, but I will not 
add more [woes] to thee, nor measure out work in addition: 


therefore work, foolish Perses : toil at the works which the 
gods have destined for mortals, lest ever with children and 
wife grieving thine heart, thou shouldest seek thy substance 
among neighbors, and they should cast thee off. ... I urge 
thee then to study how to pay thy debts and to avoid hunger. 
First of all [to be a successful farmer] get a house, a wife, 
and a plowing ox. 1 . . . [The wife] will tend thy cattle, 
and thy needful farm implements, lest if thou wouldest bor- 
row from another he may refuse to give them, and thou 
wouldest for lack of them be deprived of thy harvest -when 
the season is over. Put not off (thy toil) till the morrow or 
the day after, for it is not the sluggish man or the putter-off, 
who fills up his garner : but diligence increases the fruit of 
toil. A dilatory man ever wrestles with losses. 

When the first season of plowing has appeared to 
mortals, then do thou rouse thyself, thy servants too, and 
plow during the season, whether dry or wet, hasting right 
early, so that thy corn lands be full. Turn up the soil in the 
spring, and the ground fresh-tilled will not in the summer 
mock thy hopes : and sow thy fallow land while yet (the 
soil) is light. Fallow land is a guardian from death and 
ruin, and a soother of children. Make vows too unto Zeus the 
Infernal (Pluto) and to chaste Demeter, that they may load 
the -ripe holy seed corn of Demeter. . . . [Plow carefully 
and] let the servant boy behind, carrying a mattock, cause 
sorrow for the birds while he covers up the seed. For good 
management is best for mortals, and surely bad management 
is worst. Thus, if the Lord of Olympus afterward gives 
a prosperous end, will the ears bend to the earth with 
fullness, and thou wilt drive the cobwebs from the bins, 
and I trust thou wilt rejoice, taking for thyself the sub- 
stance stored up within. So wilt thou -come in plenty to 
[the winter]. 

1 Note how these things are lumped together. There was no sentiment 
among the agriculturalists of early Boeotia. 


Heswd's Advice on Navigation. ('' Works and Days'" In. 643.) 

Commend a small ship, on a large one stow thy freight. 
Greater will then be thy cargo, and greater thy gain upon 
gain, at least if the winds keep from evil blasts. When 
thou shalt have turned thy mind towards merchandise and 
desired to escape debts and grievous hunger [as a farmer], 
then will I show thee the courses of the loud-roaring sea. . . . 
For fifty days after the summer solstice, when summer the 
time of hard work has ended, sailing is seasonable for mortals. 
Then your ship is not likely to founder, nor the sea to destroy 
its crew, unless with fell intent, earth-shaking Poseidon, or 
Zeus, King of Immortals, should will their destruction, for 
with them is the destiny of good and bad alike. At that 
season the breezes are clear, and the deep free from danger. 
Then in security, relying on the winds, drag your swift ship 
down to the sea, and stow in it all the cargo : but haste at 
full speed home again, wait not for the [time of the] new 
wine, the autumn rain, the coming winter, and the direful 
blasts of the South wind, which is then wont to disturb the 
sea, following Zeus's copious rains in the autumn, and mak- 
ing the deep perilous. 


With the passing of the Homeric Age we come by insensible 
transitions into a period where authentic historical records begin 
to exist. We need -no longer study a "civilization" merely, but the 
actual annals of the city states (poleis) of Greece. Genuine per- 
sonalities, poets, warriors, lawgivers, loom before us with increas- 
ing clearness. We get a number of chapters out of Herodotus, 
wherein the " Father of History " throws a most fascinating light 
upon the events of the two centuries preceding his own. Again 
we can use the writings of such authors as Strabo and Plutarch, 
who lived, indeed, in the later Roman age, but who were able to 
compile accurate information from sources now quite lost to us. 

The whole Greek civilization, it should be remembered, was a 
civilization of small cities, perhaps, on an average, with a popula- 
tion of not over five to twenty thousand. Only Athens, Sparta, 
and a few other communities would be larger. In such narrow 
surroundings, life gained in intensity what it lost in variety. Pol- 
itics were hot, fierce, personal. Patriotism was a thing very local 
indeed. At first there is seemingly no cohesive principle among 
the scattered, often warring, Greek poleis. Then gradually certain 
factors of unity come into play : the Pan-Hellenic games, the 
Delphic oracle, and especially the colonizing movement, which, 
by bringing the Greeks into contact with downright aliens, taught" 
them their own essential unity. Also the spread of the power of 
certain great states, especially of Sparta, makes the Greeks con- 
scious of a common nationality. Most of these significant factors 
are illustrated in the extracts presented ; while other extracts are 
intended to show how, while other communities were seemingly 
far more aggressive, Athens was undergoing a course of develop- 
ment which was to enable her to make the next age of Greek 
history peculiarly her own. 




Part of the "Homeric Hymn to Apollo." Adapted from Buckley's Translation 

The cult of Apollo at the tiny isle of Delos was extremely an- 
cient. At the festival held there by the lonians, there were mu- 
sical and gymnastic contests, as at Olympia. The hymn which is 
here in part given dates perhaps from about 600 B.C., and was 
one of a cycle of hymns called Homeric, as produced by bards 
claiming to imitate Homer. As the worship of Apollo developed, 
a conception of moral nobility and righteousness associated itself 
with the god unlike the earlier stories; but this elevation is 
more evident in dealing with Apollo of Delphi than Apollo of 

[After King Apollo had been born of Leto, at the tiny 
isle of Delos and had made it his shrine,] then all Delos be- 
came heavy with gold, beholding the offspring of Zeus and 
Leto, rejoicing because the god had chosen it out of the 
islands and mainland, to settle therein his dwelling, and 
had loved it exceedingly. So it did nourish, even as when 
the crest of a hill rejoices with the woodland foliage. But 
thou, Lord of the Silver Bow, far-darting King Apollo, 
sometimes dost thou also walk on rocky Cynthus, and some- 
times dost thou haste away to the [other] isles and their 
island dwellers. Thine are full many temples and leafy 
groves ; all the craggy rocks are dear to thee, dear too are 
the towering summits of the hills and the ocean-flowing 
rivers. Yet, Phoebus, is thy heart's delight still at Delos : 
there the lonians in their training robes gather to honor 
thee; they, their children, and their stately wives. Mindful 
of thee, they delight thee [with games], boxing, dancing, 
and the song when the contest joins. A man would say [on 
beholding them] that they were immortal, yea, ageless, these 
lonians, who are gathered before thy temple. For he would 
see hoTY they all take pleasure : and would have delight in 
his mind, beholding alike the men and their fair-zoned 


women, likewise their swift ships, and their abounding 

Besides these, marvel, come the Delian girls, the glory 
whereof shall never perish, they the servants of the Far 
Darter, who when they have first chanted Apollo in their 
hymns, and then Leto, and Artemis, whose joy is in her 
archery, sing a [choral] hymn, and delight the multitude 
of men. Well do they know how to imitate the voices and 
tones of all men : yea, every man present would say that he 
himself was speaking, so beautiful is the song they weave. 

Hail then to you, O Leto, Apollo, O Artemis : hail to 
you each and all : ... and never will I [the bard] cease to 
hymn the praise of far-darting Apollo of the Silver Bow : 
the child of the fair-haired Leto ! 


Herodotus, book VI, chaps. 86, 87. Rawlinson's Translation 

The high standard of personal righteousness upheld by the 
priests of the Delphic Apollo is illustrated by this story, which 
makes the god take a far sterner view of human treachery than 
the lax and unmoral deities of the Homeric Age. Apollo of Delphi 
hardly less than Jehovah of Israel was not lightly to be tempted ! 

The story goes that there lived in Lacedaernon [about 
600 B.C.] one G-laucus, son of Epicydes . . . whose charac- 
ter for justice was such as to place him above all other 
Spartans. . . . Now there came a certain Milesian to Sparta, 
and [deposited a large quantity of silver with him to keep 
safe until some authorized person should come to demand 
it] " since," he said, " I am well assured it will be safe in 
thy keeping" ... So Grlaueus took the deposit on the 
terms given. Many years had gone by when the sons of the 
man by whom the money had been left came to Sparta, and 


had an interview with Glaucus, whereat they produced 
their vouchers, and asked to have the money returned to 
them. But Glaucus sought to refuse, and answered them, 
" I have no recollection of the matter : nor can I bring to 
mind any of the particulars whereof you speak, when I 
remember I will certainly do what is just. If I had the 
money you have a right to receive it back : but if it was 
never given rne, I shall put the Greek law in force against 
you. 1 At present I give no answer : but four months hence 
I will settle the business. :> 

So the Milesians went away sorrowful, considering the 
money wholly lost to them. As for Glaucus, he made a 
journey to Delphi, and there consulted the oracle. To his 
question if he should swear [away the debt], and so make 
prize of the money, the Pythoness returned for answer 
these lines following: 

"Best for the present it were, Glaucus, to do as thou wishest, 

Swearing the oath to prevail, and so make prize of the money. 

Swear then death is the lot e'en of those who never swear falsely. 

Yet hath the Oath-God a son who is nameless and footless and hand- 

Mighty in strength he approaches to vengeance, and whelms in de- 

All who belong to the race or the house of the man who is perjured. 

But oath-keeping men leave hehind them a flourishing offspring/' 

Glaucus when he heard these words earnestly besought 
the god to pardon his question, but the Pythoness replied 
that it was as bad to have tempted the god as it would have 
been to have done the deed. Glaucus, however, sent for the 
Milesian strangers and gave them back their money . . . 
[Nevertheless] Glaucus [three generations later] had not a 
single descendant; nor is there any family known as his 
root and branch has he been removed from Sparta. 

1 i.e. clear himself by taking oath that the claim was false. 



Herodotus, book I, chaps. 46-56. Rawlinson's Translation 

The story here given of ho\v Croesus the Lydian consulted the 
Delphic oracle before the collision with Persia is another of He- 
odotus's peculiarly interesting stories. 

Note : (1) how the influence of Delphi had spread from Hellas 
into Lydia ; (2) how cleverly the oracle covered its tracks in case 
of an issue unfavorable to Croesus. 

At the end of this time the grief of Croesus was inter- 
rupted by intelligence from abroad. He learnt that Cyrus, 
the son of Cambyses, had destroyed the empire of Astyages, 
the son of Cyaxares ; and that the Persians were becoming 
daily more powerful. This led him to consider with him- 
self whether it were possible to check the growing power of 
that people before it came to a head. With this design he 
resolved to make instant trial of the several oracles in 
Greece, and of the one in Libya. So he sent his messenger 
in different directions, some to Delphi, some to Abae in 
Phocis, and some to Dod6na ; others to the oracle of Am- 
phiaratis; others to that of Trophonius; others again to 
that of Branchidse in Milesia. These were the Greek 
oracles which he consulted. To Libya he sent another 
embassy, to consult the oracle of Ammon. These messen- 
gers were sent to test the knowledge of the oracles, that, if 
they were found really to return true answers, he might 
send a second time, and inquire if he ought to attack the 

[According to the story, the Delphic Oracle and the oracle of 
Amphiaraiis were the only two which convinced Croesus that they 
spoke truly.] 

After this Croesus having resolved to propitiate the 
Delphic god with a magnificent sacrifice, offered up three 
thousand of every kind of sacrificial beast, and besides made 


a huge pile and placed upon it couches covered with silver 
and with gold, and golden goblets, and robes and vests of 
purple : all which he burnt in hope of thereby making him- 
self more secure of the god ? s favor. Farther he issued his 
orders to all his people to offer a sacrifice according to their 

[In addition to this Croesus took a treasure of gold and silver 
and sent it to Delphi and another to the shrine of Amphiaraiis in 
Bceotia near Thebes.] 

The messenger who had charge of conveying these 
treasures to the shrines, received instructions to ask the 
oracles whether Croesus should go to war with the Persians, 
and if so, whether he should strengthen himself by the 
forces of an ally. Accordingly, when they had reached 
their destinations and presented the gifts, they proceeded 
to consult the oracles in the following terms : " Croesus, 
king of Lydia and other countries, believing that these are 
the only real oracles in all the world, has sent you such 
presents as your discoveries deserved, and now inquires of 
you whether he shall go to war with the Persians, and if so, 
whether he shall strengthen himself by the forces of a con- 
federate." Both the oracles agreed in the tenor f of their 
reply, which was in each case a prophecy that if Croesus 
attacked the Persians, he icould destroy a mighty empire, and a 
recommendation to him to look and see who were the most 
powerful of the Greeks, and to make alliance with them. 

At the receipt of these 'oracular replies Croesus was over- 
joyed, and feeling sure now that he would destroy the em- 
pire of the Persians, he sent once more to Pytho, and 
presented to the Delphians, the number of whom he had as- 
certained, two gold staters apiece. In return for this the 
Delphians granted to Croesus and the Lydians the privilege 
of precedency in consulting the oracle, exemption from all 
charges, the most honorable seat at the festivals, and the 


perpetual right of becoming at pleasure citizens of their 

After sending those presents to the Delphians, Croesus a 
third time consulted the oracle ; for having once proved its 
truthfulness, he wished to make constant use of it. The 
question whereto he now desired an answer was "Whether 
his kingdom would be of long duration ? " The following 
was the reply of the Pythoness: 

" Wait till the time shall come \vhen a mule is monarch of Media ; 
Then, thou delicate Lydiau, away to the pehbles of Hermus : 
Haste, oh, haste thee away, nor blush to behave like a coward." 

Of all the answers that had reached him, this pleased him 
far the best, for it seemed incredible that a mule should 
ever come to be king of the Medes, and so he concluded that 
the sovereignty would never depart from himself or his 
seed after him. 

[.Thus encouraged, Croesus went to war, little thinking that 
Cyrus his enemy was that " mule " having a Persian father and 
a Median mother. As a result he was overthrown and captured, 
and his kingdom annexed to Persia, but the oracle if the story 
is to be believed was vindicated, the "mighty empire" which he 
had destroyed being his own.] 

Strabo, " Geography," book IX, chap. 3, H I. Bohu Translation 

The best description which we have of the shrine of Apollo at 
Delphi, its location, and of the " Amphictyonic Council " that had 
watch over it, is given by Strabo. He wrote about the beginning 
of the first century A.D., but in his time the traditions, and to some 
extent the actual customs, of ancient Delphi were well pre- 
served. It is needless to point out how the support of a common 
shrine and cultus like this made for the growth of a sense of unity 
among the Hellenes. 


The whole of [Mount] Parnassus is esteemed sacred. It 
contains caves and other places which are regarded with honor 
and reverence. Of these the most celebrated and the most 
beautif ul is Corycian, a cave of the nymphs. . . . The two 
most celebrated cities in this country are Delphi and 
Elateia. Delphi is renowned for the temple of the 
Pythian Apollo, and the antiquity of its oracle, since 
Agamemnon is said by the poet to have consulted it, for the 
minstrel is introduced singing of the " fierce contest of Odys- 
seus and Achilles, son of Peleus, how once they contended 
together, and Agamemnon, king of men, was pleased, for so 
Phoebus Apollo had foretold by the oracle in the illustrious 
Pytho." 1 

Delphi then was celebrated on this account. Elateia was 
famous as being the largest of the cities in this quarter, and 
for its very convenient position upon the passes [in the hills], 
for he who is the master of this city commands the entrance 
into Phocis and Boeotia. We have noticed that Parnassus 
itself is situated on the western boundaries of Phocis. The 
western side of this mountain is occupied by the Locri 
Ozohe,on the southern is Delphi, a rocky spot, in shape like to 
a theater : on its summit is an oracle, and also the city which 
comprehends a circuit of sixteen stadia [something over one 
and a half miles]. Above it lies Lycoreia; here the Del- 
phians were formerly settled above the temple. At present 2 
they live close to it around the fountain of Castalia. In 
front of the city, on the southern part is Cirphis, a precipi- 
tous hill, leaving in the intermediate space a wooded ravine, 
through which flows the river Pleistus. Below Cirphis near 
the sea is Cirrha, an ancient city whence there is an ascent 
to Delphi of about eighty stadia [over eight miles]. . . . 
Adjoining Cirrha is the fertile Crissean plain. Next in or- 
der follows another city, Crisa. [These cities are in ruins ; 

* " Odyssey," book VIH, 75 ff. 

2 Strabo is writing in the Roman Age : he probably died in 19 A.D. 


the Crisaeans destroyed Cirrha; and later Crisa was de- 
stroyed in 595 B.C. in the " Crissean War " waged by the 
Amphictyonic League, because the inhabitants levied 
duties on imports from Sicily and Italy, and laid] grievous 
imposts on those who resorted to the temple, contrary to the 
decrees of the Amphictyons. . . . 

The Temple at Delphi and the Pythoness 

The temple at Delphi is now [in the writer's day] much 
neglected, although formerly held in the highest veneration. 
Proof of the respect which was paid to it is seen in the treas- 
ure houses, built at the expense of communities and princes 
where were deposited the riches dedicated to sacred ends, [and 
here, too, are] the works of most eminent artists, the site of 
the Pythian games, as well as a multitude of famous oracles. 

The place where the oracle [of Apollo] is delivered is said 
to be a deep hollow cavern, the entrance whereof is not very 
wide. From it rises an exhalation which inspires a divine 
frenzy. Over the mouth [of the cavern] is placed a lofty 
tripod on which the Pythoness ascends to receive the ex- 
halation, after which she gives the prophetic responses in 
verse or prose. The prose is adapted to measure by poets 
who are in the service of the temple. 

Although the highest honor is paid to this temple on 
account of the oracle, for it was the most exempt of any 
from deception, yet its reputation was in part due to its 
situation in the center of all Hellas, both within and with- 
out the Isthmus [of Corinth], It was also conceived to 
be the center of the habitable earth, and was called the 
Navel of the World." A fable referred to by Pindar, 
was invented, according to which two eagles (or as others 
say two crows) set free by Zeus, one from the east, and one 
from the west, alighted together at Delphi. In the triangle 
is seen a sort of navel wrapped in bands, and surmounted 
by figures representing the birds of the fable. 


TJie Ampltictyonic Council 

As the situation of Delphi is convenient, persons easih 
assembled there, particularly those from the neighboring 
region, from which the Amphictyonic Council is drawn. 
It is the business of this body to deliberate on public affairs, 
but more especially is intrusted to it the guardianship of 
the temple for the common good: for large sums of money 
were deposited there, and votive offerings, which required 
great vigilance and religious care. The early history of 
this body is unknown, but among the names which are 
recorded Acrisius [a mythical king of Argos] appears [by 
tradition] to have been the first who regulated its consti- 
tution, determined what cities should have votes in the 
council, and assigned the number of votes and the mode of 
voting. To some cities he gave a single vote each, or a 
vote to two cities, or to several cities conjointly. He also 
defined the class of questions which might arise between 
the several cities, which were to be submitted to the 
decision of the Amphictyonic tribunal; and subsequently 
many other regulations were made. ... At first twelve 
cities are said to have assembled, each of which sent a 
" Pylagoras." The convention met twice per year, in spring 
and in autumn. But latterly a greater number of cities 
sent deputies. They called both the spring and the autumn 
meetings "Pylaean," because they met at Pylae [i.e. "The 
Gates " in the mountains] which is also the name of Ther- 
mopylae [The "Hot Gates "]. The Pylagorae sacrificed to 

In the beginning only the people of the district gathered, 
or consulted the oracle: but afterward people resorted 
thither from a distance for this very end, and sent gifts 
and constructed treasure houses, as did Croesus [king of 
Lydia] and his father Alyattes, also some Italians, and 
the Siceli [native Sicilians]. 



Pausanias, book V, chap. VII if. Frazer's Translation, considerably 

What Olympia was in the days of its glory may be judged by 
the following description by Pausanias, who visited the spot in the 
second century A.D. In his age all the famous buildings were still 
intact, the game* were maintained in the spirit of the old tradi- 
tions, and the signs of decadence at least were unmarked. As 
he himself indicates, the games were once vastly simpler affairs 
than in the later days. At first they probably attracted the folk 
of the neighboring parts of the Peloponnesus merely : and very 
likely it was not until the sixth century B.C. that they began to 
be frequented by athletes from all parts of Hellas, or to be visited 
by the hardly less characteristic "Religious Embassies" sent by 
the several city-states to show forth their wealth and elegance 
under the guise of bringing offerings to Olympian Zeus. 

In the final part of this extract is a striking description of 
the renowned statue of Zeus, the masterpiece of Phidias, the great 
Athenian sculptor of the fifth century B.C. It should be re- 
membered, however, that Olympia had been a famous center for 
centuries before this wonder was created. 

On reaching Olympia you see at last the waters of the 
Alpheus, a broad and noble stream, fed by seven important 
rivers, not to speak of lesser tributaries. 

With regard to the Olympic games, the Elean antiquaries 
say that Cronos first reigned in heaven, and that a temple 
was made for him at Olympia by the men of that age, who 
were Darned the " Golden Kace." But when Zeus was born, 
Rhea committed the safe-keeping of the child to the Dactyls, 
who came from Ida in Crete, and their names were Hera- 
cles, Pseonaeus, Epimenes, lasius, and Idas. Then in sport 
Heracles, as the eldest, set his brethren to run a race, and 
crowned the victor with a branch of wild olive, of which 
they had such abundance that they slept on its fresh green 


leaves. They say that the wild olive was brought to Greece 
by Heracles from the land of the Hyperboreans. He made 
the rule that the games should be celebrated every fourth 
year. Some say that Zeus wrestled here with Crouos for 
the kingdom, others that Zeus held the games in honor 
of his victory over Cronos. Amongst those who are said 
to have gained victories is Apollo, who is declared to have 
outrun Hermes in a race, and defeated Ares in boxing. 
That is why the flutes play the Pythian air [sacred to 
Apollo], while the competitors in the pentathluni l are leap- 
ing, because that air is sacred to Apollo, and the god him- 
self had won Olympic crowns. 

[After a long tradition of contests in which gods and 
heroes were the main participants] Iphitus "renewed" the 
games, 2 and people had forgotten the ancient customs, and 
they only gradually " remembered " them, and as they re- 
membered them piece by piece, they added them to the 
games. At the point where the unbroken tradition of the 
Olympiads begins, there were only prizes for. the foot race, 
and Coroebus the Elean won the first race. Afterward in 
the fourteenth Olympiad (724-720 B.C.) the double-circuit 
foot race was added, and Hypenus, a Pisan, won the wild 
olive crown in it. In the eighteenth they "remembered" 
the pentathlum and the wrestling. In the twenty-third 
Olympiad they " restored " the prizes for boxing. In the 
twenty-fifth they admitted the race for grown horses, in 
four horse chariots. Eight Olympiads later they admitted 
the pancratium s for men, and the (single) horse race. The 
origin of the competitions for boys, however, is not traced 

1 A contest combining running, discus hurling, leaping, javelin casting, 
and wrestling ; won by the athlete conquering in the most events. 

2 From the statement following it is clear enough that the games were 
then begun about this time (776 B.C.) and were only yery gradually 
brought to their later elaboration. 

9 A combination of wrestling and boxing ; it was among the most brutal 
of all the Greek sports. 


to any ancient tradition ; they were introduced by a resolu- 
tion of the Eleans [who presided over and controlled the 
general policy of the games]. Prizes for boys in running 
and wrestling were instituted in the thirty-seventh Olym- 
piad: in the forty-first they introduced boxing for boys. 
The race between men in armor was sanctioned in the 
sixty-fifth Olympiad, for the purpose, I presume, of training 
men in war. The race between pairs of full-grown horses 
was instituted in the ninety-third. In the ninety-ninth 
they began the chariot races between cars each drawn by 
four foals. In the hundred and forty-fifth Olympiad prizes 
were offered for boys in the pancratium. 

[A number of contests, e.g. between mule carts, were tried 
for a while, then given up.] As for the mule-cart race it 
had neither dignity nor antiquity to commend it, and the 
carts were drawn by mules, and an ancient curse rests on 
the people of Elis if ever the animal is born in their land. 

The present rules as to the presidents of games are not 
what they were originally. Iphitus [the founder] presided 
over the games, and after him, the descendants of Oxylus 
did likewise. But in the fiftieth Olympiad two men, se- 
lected by lot from the whole body of the Eleans, were in- 
trusted with the presidency of the festival, and for a long 
time two was the number of the presidents. However, in 
the twenty-fifth Olympiad nine umpires were appointed, 
three to take care of the chariot race, three for the pentath- 
lum [a very important contest] and three to take charge of 
the other contests. In the next Olympiad but one a tenth 
umpire was added. In the hundred and third Olympiad 
the Eleans were divided into twelve tribes, and one umpire 
was taken from each of the twelve. In the hundred and 
eighth they reverted to the number ten, and so it has re- 
mained ever since. 

The temple and image of Zeus here were made from the 
booty at the time the Eleans conquered Pisa and the vassal 


states that revolted with her. That the image was made by 
Phidias is attested by the inscription under the feet of Zeus : 

" Phidias, Charmides's son, an Athenian made me." 

The god is seated on a throne, he is made of gold and 
ivory, on his head is a wreath made in imitation of the 
sprays of olive. In his right hand he carries a Mke (Vic- 
tory), also of ivory and gold; she wears a ribbon, and on her 
head is a wreath. In the left hand of the god is a scepter 
curiously wrought in all the metals ; the bird perched on 
the scepter is an eagle. The sandals of the god are of gold, 
and so is his robe. On the robe are wrought figures of ani- 
mals and lily flowers. The throne is adorned with gold and 
precious stones, also with ebony and ivory ; and there are 
figures painted, and images -wrought on it. There are four 
Victories in the attitude of dancing at each foot of the 
throne, and two others at the bottom of each foot. [Then 
follows much detail about the mythological characters rep- 
resented by Phidias on the foot of the throne or about it] 

I know that measurements of the height and breadth of 
the Zeus of Olympia have been recorded, but I cannot praise 
the men who took them. For even the measurements fall 
far short of the impression made by the image upon the 
spectator. Verily the god himself, they say, bore witness 
to the art of Phidias. For when the image was completed 
Phidias prayed that the god would give a sign if the work 
were to his mind, and immediately, they say, Zeus hurled 
a thunderbolt into the ground at the spot where a bronze 
urn stood at the time of my visit. 

The ground in front of the image is flagged not with white 
but with black stone. Round about the black pavement runs 
a raised edge of Parian marble, to keep in the olive oil that 
is poured out. For oil is good for the image of Olympia, 
and it is this which keeps it from suffering through the 
marshy situation of the Altis [the sacred grove]. 



Collected in Pelton, "Ancient and Modern Greece," vol. I, p. 457 

In the first historic period of Greece, religious and moral precepts 
were likely to be of a practical, simple nature. The " Sages " 
i.e. men who were supposed to know all the small stock of human 
wisdom, either taught orally, or composed brief didactic poems 
for the benefit of their disciples. However simple their philosophy, 
or superficial their investigation, the moral tone of their teachings 
was elevating, and for the vast weal of the generation in which 
they lived. 

Thales taught, " God is the oldest of all things, for He is 
without being"; that "death differeth not from life, the 
soul being immortal" ; that "a bad man can hide neither 
evil actions nor evil thoughts from the divine power" : and 
that " the world is tbe fairest of all things, for. it is the 
work of God." 

Cheilon's precepts were, " Not to slander our neighbors ; 
to be more ready to share the misfortunes than the pros- 
perity of our friends ; to keep watch over ourselves : to suf- 
fer harm rather than take a dishonest gain, to seek peace : 
to honor age : to obey the laws." 

Cleobulus said, "Do good to your friends that their friend- 
ship may be strengthened : to your enemies that they may 
become your friends. Be more eager to hear than to speak. 
Avoid injustice. Bridle the love of pleasure. Bo violence 
to no man. Instruct your children. Keep up no enmities." 

Pythagoras is said to have taught : " That one Deity is 
the source of all things. His form is light : His essence, 
truth. He is the giver of good to those who love Him, and 
as such is to be worshiped. He is the soul of all things 
pervading and maintaining the Universe. Knowledge should 
be sought as the means of approaching the nature and felicity 
of the Deity." 


. Xenophaues affirmed, " There is one eternal, infinite, im- 
mortal Being, by whom all things exist, and this One is God. 
Incorporeal and omniscient, he hears all, and sees all, but 
not by human senses. He is at once mind, wisdom, and eter- 
nal existence." 


Strabo, " Geography," book VI, chap. 2, IT 4. Bohn Translation 

Syracuse in Sicily was probably the most important city 
founded as a Greek colony. During a part of its history it was 
probably the largest and richest city speaking the Hellenic tongue. 
The manner of its founding, inquiry of Delphi as to the site, 
etc., is very typical of all Greek colonies. Note also the admirable 
location of Syracuse: at first on an island easy to defend, then 
able to spread itself over an ample area on the mainland. 

Archias sailing from Corinth [founded Syracuse] about 
the same time that Naxos and Megara [other Sicilian colony 
towns] were built. They say that Myscellus and Archias 
having gone to Delphi at the same time to consult the oracle, 
the god asked whether they would choose wealth or health ? 
Then Archias preferred wealth, and Myscellus health: 
upon which the oracle assigned [the site of] Syracuse to 
the former to found, and Croton [in Italy] to the latter. 
And certainly in like manner it fell out that the Crotonites 
should dwell in a state so famed for its salubrity [as Strabo 
has elsewhere described], and that so great riches should 
have accrued to the Syracusans, that their name has been 
embodied in the proverb applied to overrich men, " that 
they have not yet a tenth of the riches of the Syracusans." 

While Archias was on his voyage to Sicily he left Chersi- 
crates, a chief of the race of the Heracleidse with a part of 
the expedition to settle the island now called Corcyra, but 
anciently called Scheria, and he when he had expelled 
the Liburni who then possessed it established his colony 


on the island. Arohias pursuing his route, met with certain 
Dorians at Zephyriuin, [one of the southernmost headlands 
of Italy] who had quitted the company of those who had 
founded [Sicilian] Megara. These he took with him, and 
in conjunction with them founded Syracuse. The city flour- 
ished on account of the fertility of the country and the con- 
venience of the harbors. The citizens became great rulers. 
While under the lordship themselves of tyrants, they domi- 
neered over the other states [of Sicily], and when 'freed 
from despotism they set at liberty such as had been en- 
. slaved by the Barbarians : of these Barbarians some were 
the original islanders, some had come across from the main- 
land. The Greeks suffered none of the Barbarians to ap- 
proach the shore, although they were not able to expel them 
entirely from the interior, for the Siculi, Sicani,, and 
some others still inhabit the island at the present day. . . .1 
[Part of Syracuse is located upon] the island of Ortygia, 
the circumference of which simply by itself is that of a 
sizable city. Ortygia is connected with the mainland by a 
bridge, and [boasts of] the fountain Arethusa, which flows 
in such abundance as to form a river at once, and flows into 
the sea. They say that it is the river Alpheus, which rises 
in the Peloponnesus, and that it flows through the land be- 
neath the sea to the place where the Arethusa rises and flows 
into the sea. Some such proofs as these are given to prove 
the fact. A certain chalice having fallen into the river at 
Olympia [in Greece] was cast up by the springs of Arethusa, 
and the fountain too is troubled by the sacrifices of oxen at 
Olympia. Likewise Pindar following such stories, sings 

44 Ortygia, revered place of the reappearing of Alpheus, 
The offset of renowned Syracuse. . . ." 

[Strabo, however, treats the story as a very improbable 
one, gravely concluding] many rivers, and in many places 
i Strabo was writing before 19 A.D. 


flow beneath the earth, bat none so great a distance : also 
although there may be no inherent impossibility in this cir- 
cumstance, yet the above-mentioned accounts are entirely 


Herodotus, book H, chaps. 178-179. Rawlinson's Translation 

Naucratis was practically the only point in Egypt where the 
Greeks were allowed to settle. It thus became a community of 
much importance both for trade, and also for enabling the Greeks 
to gather ideas and learning from the hoary civilization of Egypt, 
to which they owed not a little. 

Amasis 1 was partial to the Greeks, and among other 
favors which he granted them, gave to such as liked to 
settle in Egypt the city of Kaucratis for their residence. 
To those who only wished to trade upon the coast, and did 
not want to fix their abode in the country, he granted 
certain lands where they might set up altars and erect 
temples to the gods. Of these temples the grandest and 
most famous, which is also the most frequented, is called the 
"Hellenium." It was built conjointly by the lonians, Dori- 
ans, and JEolians, the following cities taking part in the 
work : the Ionian states of Chios, Teos, Phocaea, and Clazo- 
mense ; Ehodes, Cnidus, Halicarnassus, and Phaslis of the 
Dorians ; and MytilSne of the JEolians. 

These are the states to whom the temple belongs, and 
they, have the right of appointing the governors of the 
factory ; the other cities which claim a share in the building 
claim what in no sense belongs to them. Three nations, 
however, consecrated for themselves separate temples the 
^Bginetan one to Zeus, the Sainians to Hera, and the Mile- 
sians to Apollo. 

* King of Egypt, 570 to 525 B.C. He died shortly before the conquest of 
the country by the Persians. 


In ancient times there was no factory but Naucratis in 
the whole of Egypt ; and if a person entered one of the 
other mouths of the Nile, he was obliged to swear that 
he had not come there of his own free will. Having so 
done, he was bound to sail in his ship to the Canopic mouth, 
or, were that impossible owing to the contrary winds, he 
must take his wares by boat all round the Delta, and so 
bring them to Naucratis, which had an exclusive privilege. 


Theognis's " Poems." Bohn Translation, p. 443. Frere, Translator 

Theognis was no friend of democracies and demagogues. These 
lines voice the feeling of vast numbers of outraged aristocrats, 
during the civic commotions that shook the poet's home (Megara) 
and many other cities. 

Our commonwealth preserves its former frame, 
Our common people are no more the same : 
They that in skins and hides were rudely dressed, 
Nor dreamt of law, nor sought to be redressed 
By rules of right, but in the days of old 
Flocked to the town, like cattle to the fold, 
Are now the " Brave and Wise," and we, the rest, 
(Their betters nominally, once the " Best") 
Degenerate, debased, timid and mean ! 
Who can endure to witness such a scene ? 
Their easy courtesies, the ready smile, 
Prompt to deride, to flatter, and beguile ! 
Their utter disregard of right or wrong, 
Of truth or honor ! Out of such a throng 
(For any difficulties, any need, 
For any bold design on manly deed) 
Never imagine you can choose a just 
Or steady friend, or faithful in his trust. 


But change your habits ! 1 Let them go their way ! 
Be condescending, affable and gay ! 
Adopt with every man the style and tone 
Most courteous and congenial with his own : 
But in your secret counsels keep aloof 
From feeble paltry souls : that, at the proof 
Of danger and distress are sure to fail ; 
For whose salvation nothing can avail. 

Tlieognis on " The Exile's Fate " 

How exile to a Hellene whose whole life was wrapped up in 
his own little city was the next of calamities to death, is voiced 
in these lines. 

An exile has no friends ! no partisan 
Is firm and faithful to the banished man : 
A disappointment and a punishment 
Harder to bear, and worse than banishment ! 


Plutarch's "Life of Lycurgus," chaps. IX-XH 

According to honored tradition, the Spartan people had become 
luxurious and were in danger of declining in robust activity and 
losing their national power, when they were given a peculiar and 
admirable set of laws and social customs by Lycurgus, thanks 
to which they became the most austere and uncorrupted folk in 
Greece, as well as the most powerful in war. Modern criticism 
has made it fairly evident that Lycurgus never lived, that he was 
originally a god who became metamorphosed into a human law- 
giver. The precise origin of the famous Spartan constitution is 
decidedly uncertain ; but the institutions attributed to Lycurgus 
are undoubted facts. Thanks to them and thanks to the peculiar 
education given Spartan youths, Lacedsemon was the Jiegemon (i.e. 
leading state) of Greece for many glorious centuries. 

iPut aside aristocratic pride, and faU in with the " popular " habits of 
the times. 


Lycurgus commanded that all gold and silver coin should 
be called in, and that only a sort of money made of iron 
should be current, a great weight and quantity of which was 
but very little worth; so that to lay up twenty or thirty 
pounds there was required a pretty large closet, and, to re- 
move it, nothing less than a yoke of oxen. With the diffu- 
sion of this money, at once a number of vices were banished 
from Lacedeemon ; for who would rob another of such a 
coin ? Who would unjustly detain or take by force, or ac- 
cept as a bribe, a thing which it was not easy to hide, nor 
a credit to have, nor indeed of any use to cut in pieces ? 

In the next place, he declared an outlawry of all needless 
and superfluous arts ; but here he might almost have spared 
his proclamation ; for they of themselves would have gone 
after the gold and silver, the money which remained being 
not so proper payment for curious work ; for, being of iron, 
it was scarcely portable, neither, if they should take the 
pains to export it, would it pass amongst the other Greeks, 
who ridiculed it. So there was now no more means of pur- 
chasing foreign goods and small ware; merchants sent no 
shiploads into Laconian ports ; no rhetoric master, no itin- 
erant fortune teller, or gold or silversmith, engraver, or jew- 
eler, set foot in a country which had no money ; so that 
luxury, deprived little by little of that which fed and fo- 
mented it, wasted to nothing, and died away of itself. For 
the rich had no advantage here over the poor, as their wealth 
and abundance had no road to come abroad by, but were 
shut up at home doing nothing. And in this way they be- 
came excellent artists in common, necessary things; bed- 
steads, chairs, and tables, and such like staple utensils in a 
a family, were admirably well made there. 

The Ordinances against Luxury 

The third and most masterly stroke of this great lawgiver, 
by which he struck a yet more effectual blow against luxury 


and the desire of riches, was the ordinance he made, that 
they should all eat in common, of the same bread and same 
meat, and of kinds that were specified, and should not 
spend their lives at home, laid on costly couches at splen- 
did tables, delivering themselves up into the hands of their 
tradesmen and cooks, to fatten them in corners, like greedy 
brutes, and to ruin not their minds only, but their very 
bodies, which, enfeebled by indulgence and excess, would 
stand in need of long sleep, warm bathing, freedom from 
work, and, in a word, of as much care and attendance as if 
they were continually sick. It was certainly an extraordi- 
nary thing to have brought about such a result as this, but 
a greater yet to have taken away from wealth, as Theo- 
phrastus observes, not merely the property of being cov- 
eted, but its very nature of being wealth. For the rich, 
being obliged to go to the same table with the poor, could 
not make use of or enjoy their abundance, nor so much as 
please their vanity by looking at or displaying it. Nor 
were they allowed to take food at home first, and then at- 
tend the public tables, for every one had an eye upon those 
who did not eat and drink like the rest, and reproached 
them with being dainty and effeminate. . . . 

The Public Repasts at Sparta 

But to return to their public repasts : these had several 
names in Greek ; the Cretans called them andria, because 
the men only came to them. The Lacedaemonians, however, 
called them phiditia, that is, love feasts, because that, by 
eating and drinking together, they had opportunity of mak- 
ing friends. . . . They met by companies of fifteen, more 
or less, and each of them stood bound to bring in monthly 
a bushel of meal, eight gallons of wine, five pounds of 
cheese, two pounds and a half of figs, and some very small 
sum of money to buy flesh or fish with. Besides this, 


when any of them made sacrifice to the gods, they always 
sent a dole to the common hall ; and, likewise, when auy of 
them had been a hunting, he sent thither a part of the veni- 
son he had killed; for these two occasions were the only 
excuses allowed for supping at home. The custom of eat- 
ing together was observed strictly for a great while after- 
wards ; insomuch that King Agis himself, after having 
vanquished the Athenians, sending for his dinners at his 
return home, because he desired to eat privately with his 
queen, was refused it by the polemarchs ; which refusal 
when he resented so much as to omit next day the sacrifice 
due for a war happily ended, they made him pay a fine. 

Spartan Table Manners 

They used to send their children to these tables as to 
schools of temperance ; here they were instructed in state 
affairs by listening to experienced statesmen; here they 
learnt to converse with pleasantry, to make jests without 
scurrility, and to take them without ill humor. In this point 
of good breeding, the Lacedaemonians excelled particularly ? 
but if any man were uneasy under it, upon the least hint 
given there was no more to be said to him. It was custom- 
ary also for the eldest man in the company to say to each of 
them, as they carne in, " Through this " [pointing to tho 
door], " no words go out." When any one had a desire to 
be admitted into any of these little societies, v he was to go 
through the following probation : each man in the company 
took a little ball of soft bread, which they were to throw 
into a deep basin, which a waiter carried round upon his 
head ; those who liked the person to be chosen dropped their 
ball into the basin without altering its figure, and those 
who disliked him pressed it betwixt their fingers, and made 
it fiat ; and this signified as much as a negative voice. And 
if there were but one of these flattened pieces in the basin, 


the suitor was rejected, so desirous were they that all the 
members of the company should be agreeable to each other. 
The basin was called caddichus, and the rejected candidate 
had a name thence derived. Their most famous dish was the 
black broth, which was so much valued that the elderly men 
fed only upon that, leaving what flesh there was to the 

They say that a certain king of Pontus, having heard 
much of this black broth of theirs, sent for a Lacedaemonian 
cook on purpose to make him some, but had no sooner 
tasted it than he found it extremely bad, which the cook ob- 
serving, told him, " Sir, to make this broth relish, you should 
have bathed yourself first in the river Eurotas." 

After drinking moderately, every man went to his home 
without lights, for the use of them was, on all occasions, 
forbid, to the end that they might accustom themselves to 
march boldly in the dark. Such was the common fashion 
of their meals. 


Plutarch, " I/ife of Lycurgus," chaps. XVI-XIX 

The foundations of Spartan success and power are undoubtedly 
discovered in the drastic education given the boys and youths. 
" Spartan discipline " succeeded admirably in its end of rendering 
the young citizens absolutely obedient to the laws and customs of 
the fatherland, and most efficient warriors in their own persons. 
Sparta was mighty because in warfare she could set in the field an 
army far superior in discipline and individual valor to that of any 
other power in Greece. For developing anything but the military 
virtues, however, this system, popularly ascribed to the hero Lycur- 
gus, was grievously defective. 

Nor was it in the power of the father to dispose of the 
child as he thought fit; he was obliged to carry it before 
certain triers at a place called Lesche ; these were some of 
the elders of a tribe to which the child belonged; their 


business it was carefully to view the infant, and, if they 
found it stout and well made, they gave order for its rear- 
ing, and allowed to it one of the nine thousand shares of land 
above mentioned for its maintenance, but if they found it 
puny and ill-shaped, ordered it to be taken to what was called 
the Apothetae, a sort of chasm under Taygetus ; as thinking 
it neither for the good of the child itself, nor for the public 
interest, that it should be brought up, if it did not, from the 
very outset, appear made to be healthy and vigorous. There 
was much care and art, too, used by the nurses ; they had 
no swaddling bands ; the children grew up free and uncon- 
strained in limb and form, and not dainty and fanciful 
about their food ; not afraid in the dark, or of being left 
alone; without any peevishness or ill humor or crying. 
Upon this account, Spartan nurses were often brought up, or 
hired by people of other countries ; and it is recorded that 
she who suckled Alcibiades was a Spartan woman. 

Lycurgus would not have pedagogues bought out of the 
market for his young Spartans nor such as should sell their 
pains ; nor was it lawful, indeed, for the father himself to 
breed up the children after his own fancy; but as soon as 
they were seven years old they were to be enrolled in certain 
companies and classes, where they all lived under the same 
order and discipline, doing their exercises and taking their 
play together. Of these, he who showed the most conduct 
and courage was made captain ; they had their eyes always 
upon him, obeyed his orders, and underwent patiently what- 
soever punishment he inflicted ; so that the whole course of 
their education was one continued exercise of a ready and 
perfect obedience. The old men, too, were spectators of 
their performances, and often raised quarrels and disputes 
among them, to have a good opportunity of finding out their 
different characters, and of seeing which would be valiant, 
which a coward, when they should come to more dangerous 
encounters. Beading and writing they gave them, just 


enough to serve their turn ; their chief care was to make 
them good subjects, and to teach them to endure pain and 
conquer in battle. To this end, as they grew in years, their 
discipline was proportionably increased ; their heads were 
close clipped, and they were accustomed to go barefoot, and 
for the most part to play naked. 

The Second Stage of the Spartan Education 

After they were twelve years old, they were no longer al- 
lowed to wear any undergarment ; they had one coat to 
serve them a year ; * their bodies were hard and dry, with 
but little acquaintance of baths and unguents ; these human 
indulgences they were allowed only on some few particular 
days in the year. They lodged^together in little bands upon 
beds made of the rushes which grew by the banks of the river 
Eurotas, which they were to break off with their hands without 
a knife ; if ^it were winter, they mingled some thistledown 
with their rushes, which it was thought had the property of 
giving warmth. . . . The old men, too, had an eye upon them, 
coming often to the grounds to hear and see them contend 
either in wit or strength with one another, and this as seri- 
ously and with as much concern as if they were their fathers, 
their tutors, or their magistrates ; so that there scarcely was 
* any time or place without some one present to put them in 
mind of their duty, and punish them if they had neglected 

The Organization into Brotherhoods 

Besides all this, there was always one of the best and 
honestest men in the city appointed to undertake the charge 
and governance of them ; he again arranged them into their 
several bands, and set over each of them for their captain 
the most temperate and boldest of those they called Irens, 

1 The chiton and the himation, one inside and one oat, constituted the 
ordinary Greek dress ; corresponding in use to the Roman tunic and toga, 


who were usually twenty years old, two years out of the 
boys ; and the eldest of the boys, again, were Mell-Irens, as 
much as to say, who would shortly be men. This young 
man, therefore, was their captain when they fought, and 
their master at home, using them for the offices of his house; 
sending the oldest of them to fetch wood, and the weaker 
and less able, to gather salads and herbs, and these they 
must either go without or steal; which they did by creeping 
into the gardens, or conveying themselves cunningly and 
closely into the eating houses : if they were taken in the 
act, they were whipped without mercy, for thieving so ill 
and awkwardly. They stole, too, all other meat they could 
lay their hands on, looking out and watching all opportuni- 
ties, when people were asleep or more careless than usual. 
If they were caught, they were not only punished with 
whipping, but hunger, too, being reduced to their ordinary 
allowance, which was very slender, and so contrived on pur- 
pose, that they might set about to help themselves, and be 
forced to exercise their energy and address. 

To return from whence we have digressed. So. seriously 
did the Lacedaemonian children go about their stealing, that 
a youth, having stolen a young fox and hid it under his 
coat, suffered it to tear out his very bowels with its teeth 
and claws, and died upon the place, rather than let it be 
seen. What is practiced to this very day in Lacedsemon is 
enough to gain credit to this story, for I myself have seen 
several of the youths endure whipping to death at the foot 
of the altar of Artemis, surnamed Orthia. 

They taught them, also, to speak with a natural and grace- 
ful raillery, and to comprehend much matter of thought in 
few words. For Lycurgus, who ordered, as we saw, that a 
great piece of money should be but of an inconsiderable 
value, on the contrary would allow no discourse to be current 
which did not contain in a few words a great deal of useful 
and curious sense; children in Sparta, by a habit of long 


silence, came to give just and sententious answers ; for, in- 
deed, as loose and incontinent livers are seldom fathers of 
many children, so loose and incontinent talkers seldom 
originate many sensible words. King Agis, when some 
Athenian laughed at their short swords, and said that the 
jugglers on the stage swallowed them with ease, answered 
him, " We find them long enough to reach our enemies with "; 
and as their swords were short and sharp, so, it seems to 
me, were their sayings. They reach the point and arrest 
the attention of the hearers better than any other kind. 


Herodotus, book I, chaps. 29-33 

How Solon, the sage of Athens, visited Croesus, the Lydian, 
in the plenitude of the latter's power, and how he warned him 
against vainglory and self-confidence, forms one of the most de- 
lightful narratives in Herodotus. There are grave difficulties 
(partly chronological) in the way of accepting this story too liter- 
ally, but it is so pointedly and admirably told that it has deserv- 
edly become one of the most famous stories of antiquity. 

When all these conquests had been added to the Lydian 
empire, and the prosperity of Sardis was now at its height, 
there came thither [to see Croesus], one after another, all the 
sages of Greece living at the time, and among them Solon 
the Athenian. 

Croesus received him as his guest and lodged him in the 
royal palace. On the third or fourth day after, he bade his 
servants conduct Solon over his treasuries, and show him 
all their greatness and magnificence.* When he had seen 
them all, and, so far as time allowed, inspected them, Croesus 
addressed this question, to him : " Stranger of Athens, we 
have heard much of thy wisdom and of thy travels through 
many lands, from love of knowledge and a wish to see the 
world. I am curious therefore to inquire of thee, whom, of 


all men that thou hast seen, thou deemest the most happy." 
This he asked because he thought himself the happiest of 
mortals : but Solon answered him without flattery, accord- 
ing to his true sentiments, "Tellus of Athens, sire." 

The Story of Tellus of Athens 

Full of astonishment at what he heard, Croesus demanded 
sharply, "And wherefore dost thou deem Tellus happi- 
est?" To which the other replied: "First, because his 
country was flourishing in his days, and he himself had 
sons both beautiful and good, and he lived to see children 
born to each of them, and these children all grew up ; and 
further because, after a life spent in what our people look 
upon as comfort his end was surpassingly glorious. In a 
battle between the Athenians and their neighbors near 
Eleusis, he came to the assistance of his countrymen, routed 
the foe, and died upon the field most gallantly. The Athe- 
nians gave him a public funeral on the spot where he fell, 
and paid him the highest honors." 

Thus did Solon admonish Croesus by the example of 
Tellus, enumerating the manifold particulars of his happi- 
ness. When he had ended, Croesus inquired a second time, 
who after Tellus seemed to him the happiest, expecting 
that, at any rate, he would be given the second place. 

TJie Story of Cleobis and Bito 

"Cleobis and Bito," Solon answered: "They were of 
Argive race ; their fortune was enough for their wants, and 
they were besides endowed with so much bodily strength 
that they had both gained prizes at the Games. Also this 
tale is told of them : There was a great festival in honor 
of the goddess Hera at Argos, to which their mother must 
needs be taken in a car. Now the oxen did not come home 
from the field in time : so the youths, fearful of being too 


late, put the yoke on their own necks, and themselves drew 
the car in which their mother rode. Five and forty fur- 
longs did they draw her, and stopped before the temple. 
This deed of theirs was witnessed by the whole assembly 
of worshipers, and then their life closed in the best possible 
way. Herein, too, God showed forth most evidently, how 
much better a thing for man death is than life. For the 
Argive men who stood around the car extolled the vast 
strength of the youths ; and the Argive women extolled the 
mother who was blest with such a pair of sons; and the 
mother herself, overjoyed at the deed and at the praises it 
had won, standing straight before the image, besought the 
goddess to bestow on Cleobis and Bito, the sons who had so 
mightily honored her, the highest blessing to which mortals 
can attain. Her prayer ended, they offered sacrifice and 
partook of the holy banquet, after which the two youths 
fell asleep in the temple. They never woke more, but so 
passed from the earth. The Argives, looking on them as 
among the best of men, caused statues of them to be made, 
which they gave to the shrine at Delphi." 

Solon's Opinion touching Crcesits 

When Solon had thus assigned these youths the second 
place, Croesus broke in angrily, " What, stranger of Athens, 
is my happiness so utterly set at naught by thee, that thou 
dost not even put me on a level with private men ? " 

" Croesus," replied the other, " thou askedst a question 
concerning the condition of man, of one who knows that the 
power above us is full of jealousy, and fond of troubling 
our lot. A long life gives one to witness much, and experi- 
ence much oneself, that one would not choose. For thyself, 
Croesus, I see that thou art wonderfully rich, and art the 
lord of many nations; but with respect to that whereon 
thou questionest me, I have no answer to give, until I hear 
that thou hast closed thy life happily. For assuredly he 


who possesses great store of riches is no nearer happiness 
than he who has what suffices for his daily needs, unless 
it so hap that luck attend upon him, and so he continue in 
the enjoyment of all his good things to the end of life. For 
many of the wealthiest men have been unfavored of for- 
tune, and many whose means were moderate have had ex- 
cellent luck. The wealthy man is better able to content his 
desires, and to bear up against a sudden buffet of calamity. 
The other has less ability to withstand these evils (from 
which, however, his good luck keeps him clear), but he en- 
joys all these following blessings : he is whole of limb, a 
stranger to disease, free from misfortune, happy in his 
children, and comely to look upon. If, in addition to all 
this, he end his life well, he is of a truth the man of whom 
thou art in search, the man who may rightly be termed 
happy. Call him, however, until he die, not happy but 
fortunate. No single human being is complete in, every 
respect something is always lacking. He who unites the 
greatest number of advantages, and retaining them to the 
day of his death, then dies peaceably, that man alone, sire, 
is, in my judgment, entitled to bear the name of ' happy/ 
But in every matter it behooves us to mark well the end : 
for oftentimes G-od gives men a gleam of happiness and 
then plunges them into ruin." 

Such was the speech which Solon addressed to Croesus, a 
speech which brought him neither largess nor honor. The 
king saw him depart with much indifference, since he 
thought that a man must be an arrant fool who made no 
account of present good, but bade men always wait and 
mark the end. 


Herodotus, book in, chaps. 39-43 

Polycrates of Samos was a famous pirate prince (about 530 to 
522 B.C.), whose galleys raided -and terrorized the whole of thq 


Eastern Mediterranean. The famous story here given was doubt- 
less designed by Herodotus to illustrate how (1) too much good 
fortune is sure to breed ill fortune (a favorite theory at the time he 
wrote), and (2) how vain it is for mortals to try to thwart the 
purposes of Fate. 

... At the outset lie divided the state into three parts, and 
shared the kingdom with, his brothers, Pantagndtus and 
Syloson ; but later, having killed the former and banished 
the latter, who was the younger of the two, he held the 
whole island. Hereupon he made a contract of friendship 
with Amasis, the Egyptian king, sending him gifts, and 
receiving from him others in return. In a little while his 
power so greatly increased, that the fame of it went abroad 
throughout Ionia, and the rest of Greece. Wherever he 
turned his arms, success waited on him. He had a fleet of 
a hundred penteconters, and bowmen to the number of a 
thousand. Herewith he plundered all, without distinction 
of friend or foe ; for he argued that a friend was better 
pleased if you gave him back what you had taken from him, 
than if you spared him at the first. He captured many of 
the islands, and several towns upon the mainland. Among 
his other doings he overcame the Lesbians in a sea fight, 
when they came with all their forces to the help of Miletus, 
and made a number of them prisoners. These persons, 
laden with fetters, dug the moat which surrounds the castle 
at Samos. 

The exceeding good fortune of Polycrates did not escape 
the notice of Amasis, who was much disturbed thereat. 
When therefore his successes continued increasing, Amasis 
wrote him the following letter, and sent it to Samos. " Am- 
asis to Polycrates thus sayeth : It is a pleasure to hear of a 
friend and ally prospering; but thy exceeding prosperity 
does not cause me joy, forasmuch as I know that the gods 
are envious. My wish for myself, and for those I love, is 
to be now successful, and now to meet with a check ; thus 


passing through life amid alternate good and ill, rather than 
with perpetual good fortune. For never yet did I hear tell 
of any one succeeding in all his undertakings who did not 
meet with calamity at last and come to utter ruin. Now, 
therefore, give ear to my words, and meet thy good luck in 
this way : bethink thee which of all thy treasures thou 
valuest most and canst least bear to part with; take it, 
whatsoeyer it be, and throw it away, so that it may be sure 
never to come any more into the sight of man. Then, if 
thy good fortune be not thenceforth checkered with ill, 
save thyself from harm by again doing as I have counseled." 

When Polycrates read this letter, and perceived that the 
advice of Amasis was good, he considered carefully with 
himself which of the treasures that he had in store it would 
grieve him most to lose. After much thought he made up 
his mind that it was a signet ring which he was wont to 
wear, an emerald set in gold, the workmanship of Theodore, 
son of Telecles, a Sarnian. So he determined to throw this 
away ; and, manning a penteconter, he went on board, and 
bade the sailors put out into the open sea. When he was 
now a long way from the island, he took the ring from his 
finger, and, in the sight of all those who were on board, 
flung it into the deep. This done, he returned home, and 
gave vent to his sorrow. 

Now it happened five or six days afterwards that a fisher- 
man caught a fish so large and beautiful, that he thought it 
well deserved to be made a present of to the king. So he took 
it with him to the gate of the palace, and said that he 
wanted to see Polycrates. Then Polycrates allowed him to 
come in ; and the fisherman gave him the fish with these 
words following 

"Sir King, when I took this prize, I thought I would not 
carry it to market, though I am a poor man who live by my 
trade. I said to myself, It is worthy of Polycrates and 
his greatness ; and so I brought it here to give it to you." 


This speech pleased the king, who thus spoke in reply : 
" Thou didst right well, friend ; and I am doubly indebted, 
both for the gift, and for the speech. Come now, and sup 
with, me." So the fisherman went home, esteeming it a high 
honor that he had been asked to sup with the. king. 
Meanwhile the servants, on cutting open the fish, found the 
signet of their master in its belly. No sooner did they see 
it than they seized upon it, and hastening to Polycrates 
with great joy, restored it to him, and told him in what way 
it had been found. The king, who saw something providen- 
tial in the matter, forthwith wrote a letter to Amasis, telling 
him all that had happened, what he had himself done, and 
what had been the upshot and dispatched the letter to 

When Amasis had read the letter of Polycrates, he per- 
ceived that it does not belong to man to save his fellow 
man from the fate which is in store for him ; likewise he felt 
certain that Polycrates would end ill, as he prospered in 
everything, even finding what he had thrown away. So he 
sent a herald to Samos, and dissolved the contract of friend- 
ship. This he did, that when the great and heavy misfor- 
tune came, he might escape the grief which he would have 
felt if the sufferer had been his bond friend. 

[Not long after Polycrates was entrapped by his enemy, the 
Persian satrap of Sardis, captured and put to a shameful death 
thus meeting calamity, even as Amasis had dreaded.] 


Translated in Felton's " Ancient and Modem Greece," vol. I, p. 371 

The part of Harmodius and Aristogeiton in securing the liberty 
of Athens was exceedingly exaggerated, as Thucydides pointed out 
scarcely a century after their deed. Hipparchus, whom they slew 
(514 B.C.), was not really the dominant tyrant; and his brother 


Hippias was left unscathed. But the democracy of Athens de- 
manded heroes, and these conspirators and martyrs to the cause 
of liberty were long celebrated. The song here given was a drink- 
ing song, and has probably been trolled thousands of times while 
the wine went around and " patriotism " was abundant a.nd noisy. 
The verses have a swinging lilt, and come as nearly as anything 
we have to being the u National Hymn " of Athens. 

Wreathed in myrtle be my glave 
Wreathed like yours, stout hearts ! when ye 

Death to the usurper gave 
And to Athens liberty ! 

Dearest youths ! ye are not dead 

But in islands of the blest 
With Tydean Diomed, 

With the swift Achilles rest. 

Yes, with wreaths like yours Pll twine, 
Wreaths like yours ye tried and true! 

When at chaste Athene's shrine 
Ye the base Hipparchus slew. 

Bright your deeds beyond the grave ! 

Endless your renown, for ye 
Death to the usurper gave 

And to Athens liberty ! 

Aristotle, "Constitution of Athens," chap. 3 ff. Kenyon's Translation 

The annual archonship in Athens began about 683 B.C., and 
from this time Attica can be considered to have enjoyed at least 
the simulacrum of a "free" government. But it was very far 
from being a democracy. The system according to the excellent 
authority of Aristotle which prevailed down to Draco's time, 
about 621 B.C., is as here stated. 


Now the ancient constitution, as it existed before the time 
of Draco, was organized as follows : The magistrates were 
elected according to qualifications of birth and wealth. At 
first they governed for life, but subsequently for terms of 
ten years. The first magistrates, both in date and in im- 
portance, were the King, the Polemareh (commander in war), 
and the Archon. The earliest of these offices was that of 
the King, which existed from ancestral antiquity. To this 
was added, secondly, the office of Polemarch, on account of 
some of the Kings proving feeble in war ; for which reason 
Ion 1 was invited to accept the post on an occasion of press- 
ing need. The last of the three offices was that of the 
Archon, which most authorities state to have come into ex- 
istence in the time of Medon. Others assign it to the time 
of Acastus, and adduce as proof the fact that the nine 
Archons swear to execute their oaths " as in the days of 
Acastus," which seems to suggest that it was in his reign 
that the descendants of Codrus retired from the king- 
ship in return for the prerogatives conferred upon the 

Whichever way it be, the difference in date is small ; but 
that it was the last of these magistracies to be created is 
shown by the fact that the Archon has no part in the an- 
cestral sacrifices, as the King and the Polemarch have, but 
only in those of later origin. So it is only at a compara- 
tively late date that the office of Archon has become of 
great importance, by successive accretions of power. The 
Thesmoth6tae 2 were appointed many years afterwards: when 
these offices had already become annual ; and the object of 
their Creation was that they might publicly record all legal 
decisions, and act as. guardians of them with a view to ex- 
ecuting judgment upon transgressors of the law. Accord- 

1 Ion was said to have come to the assistance of his grandfather Erech- 
theus when the latter was engaged in war with Eumolpus of Eleusis. 

2 The six junior archons. 


ingly their office, alone of those which have been mentioned^ 
was never of more than annual duration. 

So far, then, do these magistracies precede all others in 
point of date. At that time the nine Archons did not all 
live together. The King occupied the building now known 
as the Bucolium, near the Prytaneuni, as may be seen from 
the fact that even to the present day the marriage of the 
King's wife to Dionysus 1 takes place there. The Archon 
lived in the Prytaneum, the Polemarch in the EpilycSum. 
The latter building was formerly called the Polemarcheum, 
but after Epilycus, during his term of office as Polemarch, 
had rebuilt it and fitted it up, it was called the Epilyceum. 
The Thesmothetse occupied the ThesmothetSum. In the 
time of Solon, however, they all came together into the 
ThesmothetSum. They had power to decide cases finally 
on their own authority, not, as now, merely to hold a pre- 
liminary hearing. 

The Council of Areopagus had as its constitutionally as- 
signed duty the protection of the laws ; but in point of fact 
it administered the greater and most important part of the 
government of the state, and inflicted personal punishments 
and fines summarily upon all who misbehaved themselves. 
This was the natural consequence of the fact that the Archons 
were elected under qualifications of birth and wealth, and 
that the Areopagus was composed of those who had served 
as Archons ; for which latter reason the membership of the 
Areopagus is the only office which has continued to be a 
life magistracy to the present day. 


Aristotle, "Constitution of Athens," chaps. 21-22 
Olisthenes's great legislative reforms did not perhaps get into 
real effect until 507 B.O. Their results were immediate and bene- 

1 The wife of the king-archon every year went through the ceremony of 
marriage to the god Dionysus, at the feast of the Anthesteria. 


ficial. Thanks to the harmony and efficiency which they infused 
into the Athenian body politic, Athens was able to play her 
noble part at Marathon and Salamis. 

The people, therefore, had good reason to place confidence 
in Clisthenes. Accordingly when, at this time, he found 
himself at the head of the masses, three years after the ex- 
pulsion of the tyrants, in the archonship of Isagoras 1 his 
first step was to distribute the whole population into ten 
tribes in place of the existing four, with the object of inter- 
mingling the members of the different tribes, so that more 
persons might have a share in the franchise. 2 From this 
arose the saying "Do not look at the tribes," addressed 
to those who wished to scrutinize the lists of the old* 
families. Next he made the Council to consist of five 
hundred members instead of four hundred, each tribe 
now contributing fifty, whereas formerly each had sent a 

The reason why he did not organize the people into twelve 
tribes was that he might not have to divide them according 
to the already existing Trittyes ; for the four tribes had 
twelve Trittyes, so that he would not have achieved his ob- 
ject of redistributing the population in fresh combinations. 
Further, he divided the country by denies 3 into thirty parts, 
ten from the districts about the city, ten from the coast, and 
ten from the interior. These he called Trittyes; and he 

i 608 B.C. 

2 He introduced a large number of new citizens by the enfranchisement 
of emancipated slaves and resident aliens. It would have been difficult to 
introduce them into the old tribes, which were organized into clans and 
families on the old aristocratic basis ; the new tribes had no such associa- 

8 The number of demes, from Herodotus, appears to have been a hun- 
dred. This number increased with the population, and in the third century 
B.C. there were 176 demes. The demes composing each Trittys were con- 
tiguous, but each Trittys was separated from its two fellows, so that the 
party feeling of the tribe was spread over three local divisions, and the old 
feuds between the different districts of Attica became impossible. 


assigned three of them by lot to each tribe, in such a way 
that each should have one portion in each of these three 

The Organization of the Demes 

All who lived in any given deme he declared fellow- 
demesmen, to the end that the new citizens might not be 
exposed by the habitual use of family names, but that men 
might be known by the names of their denies ; and accord- 
ingly it is by the names of their denies l that the Athenians 
still speak of one another. He also instituted demarchs, 
who had the same duties as the previously existing naucrari, 
the denies being made to take the place of the naucraries. 
He gave names to the denies, some from the localities to 
which they belonged, some from the persons who founded 
them, since some of them no longer corresponded to locali- 
ties possessing names. On the other hand, he allowed every- 
one to retain his family and clan and religious rites according 
to ancestral custom. 2 The names given to the tribes were 
the ten which the Pythia appointed out of the hundred 
selected national heroes. 

By these reforms the constitution became much more 
democratic than that of Solon. The laws of Solon had been 
obliterated by disuse during the period of the tyranny, and 
new ones had been drawn up in their place by Clisthenes 
with the object of securing the goodwill of the masses. 

1 By this device those whose fathers had been slaves or aliens would not 
be obliged to betray their origin by giving their father's name. But in 
later times the name of the father as well as of the deme was officially 

2 Thus the ancient divisions were maintained for the benefit of the older 
families, but they ceased to be part of the regular organization of the com* 
munity for political purposes. 


Among these was the law concerning ostracism. Pour years a 
after the establishment of this system, in the archonship of 
Hermocreon, they first imposed upon the Council of l?ive 
Hundred the oath which they take to the present day. 
Next they began to elect the generals according to tribes, 
one from each tribe, while the Polemarch was the commander 
of the whole army. Then, eleven years later, they won the 
vict9ry of Marathon, in the archonship of Phaenippus ; and 
two years after this victory, when the people had now 
gained self-confidence, they for the first time made use of 
the law of ostracism. This was originally passed as a pre- 
caution against men in high office, because Pisistratus took 
advantage of his position as a popular leader and general 
to make himself tyrant; and the first person ostracized was 
one of his relatives, Hipparchus, son of Charmus, of the 
deme of Collytus, the very person on whose account espe- 
cially Clisthenes had passed the law, as he wished to get rid 
of him. Hitherto, however, he had escaped ; for the Athe- 
nians, with the usual leniency of the democracy, allowed all 
the partisans of the tyrants, who had not joined in their 
evil deeds in the time of the troubles, to remain in the city 5 
and the chief and leader of these was Hipparchus. Then 
in the very next year, in the archonship of Telesinus [487 
B.C.] they for the first time since the tyranny elected, tribe 
by tribe, the nine Archons by lot out of the five hundred 
candidates selected by the demes, all the earlier ones having 
been elected by vote ; and in the same year Megacles, son 
of Hippocrates, of the deme of AlopScS, was ostracized. 
Thus for three years they continued to ostracize the friends 
of the tyrants, on whose account the law had been passed ; 
but in the following year they began to remove others as 

1 This, if correct, would place this event in 504 B.C. But as this year be- 
longs to .another archon, and ad the battle of Marathon was fought in 490 
(eleven years later), the archonship of Hermocreon should be assigned to 
501 B.C., for which year no name occurs in the extant list of archons. 


well, including any one who seemed to be more powerful 
than was expedient. The first person unconnected with the 
tyrants who was ostracized was Xanthippus^son of Ariphron. 


Herodotus, book V, chaps. 66-77. Rawlinson's Translation 

The expulsion of the Pisistratidse (510 B.C.) was followed by a 
great burst of public spirit in Athens, of which the democratic re- 
form of Clisthenes was one fruitage ; another was the military 
activity that resulted in a bold and successful confronting of 
Sparta, and notable victories over the Boeotians and Chalcidians. 
Athens had been a weak military power in the days of the quarrels 
of the lower classes with the Eupatrtdse. Now, thanks to the 
enkindling influence of freedom and of free institutions, she rapidly 
grows in aggressive strength. 

Embedded in the story here given by Herodotus is also the story 
of the conspiracy of Cylon (about 630 B.C.), who had attempted to 
become tyrant two generations before Pisistratus. 

The power of Athens had been great before ; but, now 
that the tyrants were gone, it became greater than ever. 
The chief authority was lodged with two persons, Clisthenes, 
of the family of the Alcmseonids, who is said to have been 
the persuader of the Pythoness, and Isagoras, the son of 
Tisander, who belonged to a noble house, but whose 
pedigree I am not able to trace further. Howbeit his kins- 
men offer sacrifice to the Carian Zeus. These two men 
strove together for the mastery; and Clisthenes, finding 
himgelf the weaker, called to his aid the common people. 
Hereupon, instead of the four tribes among which the 
Athenians had been divided hitherto, Clisthenes made ten 
tribes, and parceled out the Athenians among them. He 
i Father of Pericles. 

508-507 B.C.] ATHENS TRIUMPHANT 125 

likewise changed the names of the tribes ; for whereas the} 
had till now been called after Geleon, JEgicores, Argades, 
and Hoples, the four sons of Ion, Clisthenes set these names 
aside, and called his tribes after certain other heroes, all of 
whom were native, except Ajax. Ajax was associated 
because, although a foreigner, he was a neighbor and an 
ally of Athens. 

Having brought entirely over to his own side the common 
people of Athens, whom he had before disdained, he gave all 
the tribes new names, and made the number greater than 
formerly ; instead of the four phylarchs he established ten ; 
he likewise placed ten demes in each of the tribes ; and he 
was, now that the common people took his part, very much 
more powerful than his adversaries. 

Isagoras in his turn lost ground ; and therefore, to counter- 
plot his enemy, he called in Cleomenes the Lacedaemonian 
who had already, at a time when he was besieging the 
Pisistratidae, made a contract of friendship with him. A 
charge is even brought against Cleomenes that he was on 
terms of too great familiarity with Isagoras's wife. At 
this time the first thing that he did was to send a herald 
and require that Clisthenes, and a large number of Athenians 
besides, whom he called "The Accursed/' should leave 
Athens. This message he sent at the suggestion of Isagoras : 
for in the affair referred to, the blood guiltiness lay on the 
Alcrnseonidse and their partisans, while he and his friends 
were quite clear of it. 

The Story of Oylon 

The way in which " The Accursed" at Athens got their 
name, was the following. There was a certain Athenian 
called Cylon, a victor at the Olympic games, who aspired 
to the sovereignty, and aided by a number of his compan- 
ions, who were of the same age with himself, made an 
attempt to seize the citadel. But the attack failed ; and 


Cylon became a suppliant at the image. Hereupon the 
Heads of the Naucraries, who at that time bore rule in 
Athens, induced the fugitives to remove by a promise to 
spare their lives. Nevertheless, they were all slain ; and the 
blame was laid on the Alcmseonidse. All this happened 
before the time of Pisistratus. 

The Futile Intervention of Oleomenes 

When the message of Cleomenes arrived, requiring Clis- 
thenes and " The Accursed " to quit the city, Clisthenes 
departed of his own accord. . Cleomenes, however, notwith- 
standing his departure, came to Athens, with a small band 
of followers; and on his arrival sent into banishment seven 
hundred Athenian families, which were pointed out to him 
by Isagoras. Succeeding here, he next endeavored to 
dissolve the council, and to put the government into the 
hands of three hundred of the partisans of that leader. But 
the council resisted, and refused to obey his orders ; where- 
upon Cleomenes, Isagoras, and their followers took possession 
of the citadel. Here they were attacked by the rest of the 
Athenians, who took the side of the council, and were 
besieged for the space of two days : on the third day they 
accepted terms, being allowed at least such of them as 
were Lacedaemonians to quit the country. And so the 
word which came to Cleomenes received its fulfillment. For 
when he first went up into the citadel, meaning to seize it, 
just as he was entering the sanctuary of the goddess, 
in order to question her, the priestess arose from her 
throne, before he had passed the doors, and said 
" Stranger from Lacedeemon, depart hence, and presume 
not to enter the holy place it is not lawful for a Dorian 
to set foot there." But he answered, Oh ! woman, I am 
not a Dorian, but an Achaean." 1 Slighting this warning, 

1 The Heraclidae were, according to the unanimous tradition, the old 
royal family of the Peloponnesus. 

407-406 B.C.] ATHENS TRIUMPHANT 127 

Cleomenes made his attempt, and so he was forced to re- 
tire, together with his Lacedaemonians. 1 The others were 
cast into prison by the Athenians, and condemned to die, 
among them Tirnasitheiis the Delphian, of whose prowess 
and courage I have great things which I could tell. 

So these men died in prison. The Athenians directly 
afterwards recalled Clisthenes, and the seven hundred 
families which Cleomenes had driven out; and, further, 
they sent envoys to Sardis, to make an alliance with the 
Persians, for they knew that war would follow with Cleom- 
enes and the Lacedaemonians. When the ambassadors 
reached Sardis and delivered their message, Artaphernes, 
son of Hystaspes, who was at that time governor of the 
place, inquired of them " who they were, and in what part 
of the world they dwelt, that they wanted to become allies 
of the Persians ? " The messenger told him ; upon which 
he answered them shortly that " if the Athenians chose to 
give earth and water 2 to King Darius, he would conclude an 
alliance with them ; but if not, they might go home again." 
After consulting together, the envoys, anxious to form the 
alliance, accepted the terms ; but on their return to Athens, 
they fell into deep disgrace on account of their compliance. 

Cleomenes turned lack, and the Boeotians and .Chalcideans 

Meanwhile Cleomenes, who considered himself to have 
been insulted by the Athenians both in word and deed, was 
drawing a force together from all parts of the Peloponnesus, 
without informing any one of his object ; which was to re- 
venge himself on the Athenians, and to establish Isagoras, 
who had escaped with him from the citadel, 8 as despot of 
Athens. Accordingly, with a large army, he invaded the 

1 The Athenians always cherished a lively recollection of this triumph 
over their great rivals. 

* Symbols of submission. * Disguised, probably as a Spartan. 


district of Eleusis, 1 while the Boeotians, who had concerted 
measures with him, took OBnoS and Hysias, 2 two country 
towns upon the frontier ; and at the same time the Chalcid- 
eans, 3 on another side, plundered divers places in. Attica. 
The Athenians, notwithstanding that danger threatened 
them from every quarter, put off all thought of the Boeotians 
and Chalcideans till a future time, and marched against the 
Peloponnesians, who were at Eleusis. 

As the two hosts were about to engage, first of all the 
Corinthians, bethinking themselves that they were perpetrat- 
ing a wrong, changed their minds, and drew off from the 
main army. Then Demaratus, son of Ariston, who was 
himself king of Sparta and joint leader of the expedition, 
and who till now had had no sort of quarrel with Cleomenes, 
followed their example. On account of this rupture be- 
tween the kings, a law was passed at Sparta, forbidding 
both inonarchs to go out together with the army, as had 
been the custom hitherto. The law also provided, that, as 
one of the kings was to be left behind, one of the Tyndaridse 
should also remain at home ; whereas hitherto both had ac- 
companied the expeditions, as auxiliaries. So when the rest 
of the allies saw that the Lacedaemonian kings were not of 
one mind, and that the Corinthian troops had quitted their 
host, they likewise drew off and departed. 

So when the Spartan army had broken up from its quarters 
thus ingloriously, the Athenians, wishing to revenge them- 
selves, marched first against the Chalcideans. The Boeotians, 
however, advancing to the aid of the latter as far as the 
Euripus, the Athenians thought it best to attack them first. 
A battle was fought accordingly ; and the Athenians gained 
a very complete victory, killing a vast number of the enemy, 

1 Eleusis was the key to Attica on the south. 

2 Hysia lay on the north side of Cithseron, in the plain of the Asopus. 

3 Ohalcis had been one of the most important cities in Greece. It was 
said to have been originally a colony from Athens. 


and taking seven hundred of them alive. After this, on the 
very same day, they crossed into Eubcea, and engaged the 
Chalcideans with the like success ; whereupon they left four 
thousand settlers upon the lands of the Hippobotae, which 
is the name the Chalcideans give to their rich men. All the 
Chalcidean prisoners whom they took were put in irons, and 
kept for a long time in close confinement, as likewise were 
the Boeotians, until the ransom asked for them was paid ; 
and this the Athenians fixed at two minse the man. The 
chains wherewith they were fettered the Athenians sus- 
pended in their citadel ; where they were still to be seen in 
my day, hanging against the wall scorched by the Median 
flames, opposite the chapel which faces the west. The 
Athenians made an offering of the tenth part of the ransom- 
money : and expended it on the brazen chariot drawn by 
four steeds, which stands on the left hand immediately 
that one enters the gateway of the citadel. The inscription 
runs as follows : 

"When Chalcis and Bceotia dared her might, 
Athens subdued their pride in valorous fight ; 
Gave bonds for insults ; and, the ransom paid, 
From the full tenths these steeds for Pallas made." 

Thus did the Athenians increase in strength, And it is 
plain enough, not from this instance only, but from many 
everywhere, that freedom is an excellent thing; since even 
the Athenians, who, while they continued under the rule of 
tyrants, were not a whit more valiant than any of their 
neighbors, no sooner shook off the yoke than they became 
decidedly the first of all. These things show that, while 
undergoing oppression, they let themselves be beaten, since 
then they worked for a master; but so soon as they got their 
freedom, each man was eager to do the best he could for 
himself. So fared it now with the Athenians. 


In the last part of the sixth and the first two decades of the 
fifth centuries B.O. came the Persian attack upon Greece. It is 
needless to expatiate upon the importance of this struggle. If 
Darius and Xerxes had prevailed, the history of civilization in 
Europe would have been so altered that imagination fails to give 
any conception of what might have followed. The Persians would 
not indeed have exterminated their Hellenic subjects ; life under a 
satrap, sent down from Susa, might have been even fairly toler- 
able ; but the free spirit of Hellas would have been utterly crushed. 
Above all, Athens would have been ruined just as her genius had 
begun to flower. It is impossible to imagine a Sophocles weaving 
his tragedies, a Phidias chiseling his sculptures, a Socrates going 
up arid down the market place propounding his knotty questions, 
and kindling the mind of young Plato, while a garrison of Persian 
intruders held the Athenian acropolis and lorded it over the natives 
as over so many " slaves of the Great King." 

Not merely was the life and liberty of Greece at stake in these 
wars, but there was no inherent reason why, after conquering the 
Hellenes, the Persians could not have carried their insatiable arms 
across to Italy, and subjugated infant Borne, also. Not Charles 
Martel at Tours, not Howard and Drake when they defeated the 
Spanish Armada, won victories more pregnant for universal history 
than Miltiades at Marathon, and Themistocles at Salamis. 

It is the good fortune of this war, that its story is told by the 
delightful "Father of History," Herodotus ; and his narratives 
usually require very limited introduction or comment. They may 
be read with pleasure by any one with red blood truly in his veins. 
They lack the critical accuracy of the monograph of a modern ped- 
ant ; perhaps occasionally they are biased ; but they seem very 



often to have been based on personal conversations with partici- 
pants in the great debate: old veterans fighting their battles 
over again for the benefit of the keen young traveler from Hali- 
carnassus. AH the extracts here given, covering most of the lead- 
ing points in the great wars, are from Herodotus, save a single 
excerpt from the later but fairly authoritative " Life of Aristides," 
by Plutarch. 


Herodotus, book V, chaps. 49-51 

Aristagoras having induced the Ionian Greeks to revolt against 
Persia (499 B.C.), next undertook the difficult task of getting effec- 
tive help from Greece proper. How the conservative Spartans 
refused to dip in any such distant enterprise is told as follows. 

Cleomenes, however, was still king when Aristagoras, ty- 
rant of Miletus, reached Sparta. At their interview, Aris- 
tagoras, according to the report of the Lacedaemonians, 
produced a bronze tablet, whereupon the whole circuit of 
the earth was engraved, 1 with, all its seas and rivers. Dis- 
course began between the two; and Aristagoras addressed 
the Spartan king in these words following: "Think it 
not strange, King Cleomenes, that I have been at the pains 
to sail hither ; for the posture of affairs, which I will now 
recount unto thee, made it fitting. Shame and grief is it 
indeed to none so much as to us, that the sons of the loni- 
ans should have lost their freedom, and come to be the 
slaves of others ; but yet it touches you likewise, Spar- 
tans, beyond the rest of the Greeks, inasmuch as the pre- 
eminence over all Greece appertains to you. We beseech 
you, therefore, by the common gods of the Grecians, deliver 
the lonians, who are your own kinsmen, from slavery. 
Truly the task is not difficult; for the barbarians are an 
unwarlike people; and you are the best and bravest war- 

1 This is almost our first record of a map. It was manifestly a great 
novelty in Sparta. In Ionia, with its large commercial activities, they 
may have been introduced somewhat earlier. 


riors in the whole world. Their mode of fighting is the 
following: they use bows and arrows, and a short spear; 
they wear trousers in the field, and cover their heads with 
turbans. So easy are they to vanquish ! Know, too, that 
the dwellers in these parts have more good things than all 
the rest of the world put together, gold, and silver, and 
brass, and embroidered garments, beasts of burden, and 
bond servants, all which, if you only wish it, you may 
soon have for your own. The nations border on one another, 
in the order which I will now explain. 

" Next to these lonians," (here he pointed with his finger 
to the map of the world which was engraved upon the tab- 
let that he had brought with him) " these Lydians dwell ; 
their soil is fertile, and few people are so rich in silver. 
Next to them," he continued, " come these Phrygians, who 
have more flocks and herds than any race that I know, and 
more plentiful harvests. On them border the Cappadocians, 
whom we Greeks know by the name of Syrians ; they are 
neighbors to the Cilicians, who extend all the way to this sea, 
where Cyprus (the island which you see here) lies. The 
Cilicians pay the king a yearly tribute of five hundred talents. 

" Next to them come the Armenians, who live here and 
they too have numerous flocks and herds. After them 
come the Mati^ni, inhabiting this country; then Cissia, 
this province, where you see the river Choaspes marked, 
and likewise the town Susa upon its banks, where the Great 
King holds his court, and where the treasuries are in which 
his wealth is stored. Once masters of this city, you may 
be bold to vie with Zeus himself for riches. In the wars 
which you wage with your rivals of Messenia, with them 
of Argos, likewise, and of Arcadia, about paltry boundaries, 
and strips of land not so remarkably good, ye contend with 
those who have no gold, nor silver even, which often give 
men heart to fight and die. Must ye wage such wars, and 
when ye might so easily be lords of Asia, will ye decide 


otherwise ? " Thus spoke Aristagoras ; and Cleomenes re- 
plied to him, " Milesian stranger, three days hence I will 
give thee an answer." 

So they proceeded no further at that time. When, how- 
ever, the day appointed for the answer came, and the two 
once more met, Cleomenes asked Aristagoras, " how many 
days' journey it was from the sea of the lonians to the 
king's residence ? " Hereupon Aristagoras, who had 
managed the rest so cleverly, and succeeded in deceiving 
the king, tripped in his speech and blundered ; for instead 
of concealing the truth, as he ought to have done if he 
wanted to induce the Spartans to cross into Asia, he said 
plainly that it was a journey of three months. Cleomenes 
caught at the words, and, preventing Aristagoras from finish- 
ing what he had begun to say concerning the road, addressed 
him thus: "Milesian stranger, quit Sparta before sunset. 
This is no good proposal which thou makest to the Lacedae- 
monians, to conduct them a distance of three months* journey 
from the sea." When he had thus spoken, Cleomenes went 
to his home. 

But Aristagoras took an olive bough in his hand, 1 and 
hastened to the king's house, where he was admitted, 
by reason of his suppliant's guise. Gorgo, the daughter 
of Cleomenes, and his only child, a girl of about eight or 
nine years of age, happened to be there, standing by her 
father's side. Aristagoras, seeing her, requested Cleomenes 
to send her out of the room before he began to speak with 
him ; but Cleomenes told him to say on, and not mind the 
child. So Aristagoras began with a promise of ten talents 
if the king would grant him his request, and when Cleom- 
enes shook his head, continued to raise his offer till it 
reached fifty talents ; whereupon the child spoke : " Father," 
she said, "get up and go, or the stranger will certainly 
corrupt thee." Then Cleomenes, pleased at the warning of 
1 TIie regular token of a suppliant. 


his child, withdrew and went into another room. Aristagoras 
quitted Sparta for good, not being able to discourse any 
more concerning the road which led up to the king. 


Herodotus, book V, chaps. 97, 99-103 

At Athens and at Eretria, Aristagoras had somewhat better suc- 
cess, although the forces sent back with him were so feeble they 
served only to irritate the Persians, not to help the cause of Ionian 

The Athenians had come to this decision, and were already 
in bad odor with the Persians, when Aristagoras the Mile- 
sian, dismissed from Sparta by Cleomenes the Lacedaemo- 
nian, arrived at Athens. He knew that, after Sparta, Athens 
was the most powerful of the Grecian states. Accordingly 
he appeared before the people, and, as he had done at 
Sparta, spoke to them of the good things which there were 
in Asia, and of the Persian mode of fight how they used 
neither spear nor shield, and were very easy to conquer. 
All this he urged, and reminded them also that Miletus was 
a colony from Athens, and therefore ought to receive their 
succor, since they were so powerful and in the earnest- 
ness of his entreaties he cared little what he promised 
till, at the last, he prevailed and won them over. It seems 
indeed to be easier to deceive a multitude than one man 
for Aristagoras, though he failed to impose on Cleomenes 
the Lacedaemonian, succeeded with the Athenians, who were 
30,000. Won by his persuasions, they voted that twenty 
ships should be sent to the aid of the Ionian s, under the 
command of Melanthius, one of the citizens, a man of mark 
in every way. .These ships were the beginning of woes both to 
the Greeks and to the barbarians. 1 

1 Herodotus seems to have inserted these words 'with solemn purpose, 
as a kind of preliminary remark to the long warfare which he was to 


How the Athenians and lonians sacked Sardis 

The Athenians now arrived with a fleet of twenty sail, 
and brought also in their company five triremes of Eretrians; 
which had joined the expedition, not so much out of good 
will towards Athens, as to pay a debt which they already 
owed to the people of Miletus. For in the old war between 
the Chalcideans and Eretrians, the Milesians fought on the 
Eretrian side throughout, while the Chalcideans had the 
help of the Samian people. Aristagoras, on their arrival, 
assembled the rest of his allies, and proceeded to attack 
Sardis, not, however, leading the army in person, but appoint- 
ing to the command his own brother Charopinus, and Her- 
mophantus, one of the citizens, while he himself remained 
behind in Miletus. 

The lonians sailed with this fleet to Ephesus, and, leaving 
their ships at Coressus in the Ephesian territory, took guides 
from the city, and went up the country, with a great host. 
They marched along the course of the river Cayster, and, 
crossing over the ridge of Tm61us, came down upon Sardis 
and took it, no man opposing them : the whole city fell 
into their hands, except only the citadel, which Artaphernes 
defended in person, having with him no contemptible force. 

Though, however, they took the city, they did not succeed 
in plundering it ; for, as the houses in Sardis were most of 
them built of reeds, and even the few which were of brick 
had a reed thatching for their roof, one of them was no 
sooner fired by a soldier than the flames ran speedily from 
house to house, and spread over the whole place. As the 
fire raged, the Lydians, and such Persians as were in the 
city, inclosed on every side by the flames, which had seized 
all the skirts of the town, and finding themselves unable to 
get out, came in crowds into the market place, and gathered 
themselves upon the banks of the PactSlus. This stream 
which conies down from Mount Tm61us, and brings the Sar- 


dians a quantity of gold dust, runs directly through the 
market place of Sardis, and joins the Hermus, before that 
river reaches the sea. So the Lydians and Persians, brought 
together in this way in the market place and about the 
Pact61us, were forced to stand on their defense ; and the 
lonians, when they saw the enemy in part resisting, and in 
part pouring towards them in dense crowds, took fright, and, 
drawing off to the ridge which is called Tmdlus, when night 
came, went back to their ships. 

The Disastrous Retreat from Sardis 

Sardis, however, was burnt, and, among other buildings, 
a temple of the native goddess Cyb16 was destroyed, 1 which 
was the reason afterwards alleged by the Persians for set- 
ting on fire the temples of the Greeks. As soon as what had 
happened was known, all the Persians who were stationed 
on this side the Halys drew together and brought help to 
the Lydians. Finding, however, when they arrived that 
the lonians had already withdrawn from Sardis, they set 
off, and, following close upon their tracks, came up with, 
them at Ephesus. The lonians drew out against them in 
battle array ; and a fight ensued, wherein the Greeks had 
very greatly the worse. Vast numbers were slain by the 
Persians : amongst other men of note, they killed the captain 
of the Eretrians, a certain Evalcidas, a man who had gained 
crowns at the games, and received much praise from Simoni- 
des the Cean. Such as made their escape from the battle 
dispersed among the several cities. 

So ended this encounter. Afterwards the Athenians 
quite forsook the lonians, and, though Aristagoras besought 

1 The burning of this temple as well as the general destruction of Sar- 
dis was an act of great folly on the part of the lonians. It enraged the 
Lydian population against them, so that instead of joining with them 
against the Persians, they were willing to help the latter heartily to crush 
the rebellion. 


them much by his ambassador, refused to give him any 
further help. Still the lonians, notwithstanding this deser- 
tion, continued unceasingly their preparations to carry on 
the war against the Persian king, which their late conduct 
towards him had rendered unavoidable. 

[The lonians thus held out until 494 B.O. when, after being 
beaten in a great naval battle off the isle of Lade, Miletus was 
taken after a long siege and almost destroyed. The whole region 
was speedily reduced to abject dependence upon Persia. Aris- 
tagoras and Histiaeus, the authors of the mischief, perished miser- 


Herodotus, book V, chaps. 102-106 

The Persian armament of Datis and Artaphernes was con- 
ducted to Marathon (490 B.C.) by old Hippias the ex-tyrant. 
In their extremity .it was natural for the Athenians to appeal 
to Sparta, the chief military power of Greece, and the head of 
the " Peloponnesian League " whereof Athens at this time was 
probably a member. It was equally natural for the Spartans to 
procrastinate in an emergency, and to allege some old custom as 
sufficient excuse. 

The Persians, having thus brought Eretria into subjec- 
tion after waiting a few days, made sail for Attica, greatly 
straitening the Athenians as they approached, and thinking 
to deal with them as they had dealt with the people of 
Eretria. And, because there was no place in all Attica so 
convenient for their horse as Marathon, and it lay, moreover, 
quite close to Eretria, therefore Hippias, the son of Pisis- 
tratus, conducted them thither. 

When intelligence of this reached the Athenians, they 
likewise marched their troops to Marathon, and there stood 
on the defensive, having at their head ten generals, of whom 
one was Miltiades. 


And first, before they left the city, the generals sent off 
to Sparta a herald, one Pheidippides, 1 who was by birth an 
Athenian, and by profession and practice a trained runner. 
This man, according to the account which he gave to the 
Athenians on his return, when he was near Mount Parthe- 
nium, above Tegea, fell in with the god Pan, who called him 
by his name, and bade him ask the Athenians " wherefore 
they neglected him so entirely, when he was kindly disposed 
towards them, and had often helped them in times past, and 
would do so again in time to come?" The Athenians, 
entirely believing in the truth of this report, as soon as 
their affairs were once more in good order, set up a temple 
to Pan under the Acropolis, 2 and, in return for the message 
which I have recorded, established in his honor yearly 
sacrifices and a torch race. 

On the occasion of which we speak, when Pheidippides 
was sent by the Athenian generals, and, according to his 
own account, saw Pan on his journey, he reached Sparta 
on the very next day after quitting the city of Athens. 8 
Upon his arrival he went before the rulers, and said to 

"Men of Lacedaemon, the Athenians beseech you to 
hasten to their aid, and not allow that state, which is the 
most ancient in all Greece, to be enslaved by the barbarians. 
Eretria, look you, is already carried away captive; and 
Greece weakened by the loss of no mean city." 

Thus did Pheidippides deliver the message committed 
to him. And the Spartans wished to help the Athenians, 
but were unable to give them any present succor, as they 
did not like to break their established law. It was then 

iSee Browning's poem " Pheidippides " in his "Dramatic Idylls." 

2 The temple or rather chapel of Pan was contained in a hollow in the 

rock just below the Propylsea, or entrance to the citadel. The cavern still 


8 A marvelous but not incredible feat for a trained "distance runner." 

He seems to have covered about 160 miles in 48 hours. 


the ninth day of the first decade ; and they could not march 
out of Sparta on the ninth, when the moon had not reached 
the full. So they waited for the full of the moon. 


Herodotus, book VI, chaps. 108-120 

Herodotus's story of the cattle of Marathon is substantially 
the only complete one we have, and on the whole seems reasonably 
correct, although not without decided difficulties. It is probable 
that the deliberation whether or not to fight the invaders was 
held before the Athenian army marched from Athens to Marathon, 
rather than near the battlefield. Again, it is likely the part of 
Callimachus is minimized to enhance the glory of Miltiades. As 
for Miltiades's speech to Callimachus, it is the historian's sheer 
creation, yet it represents what ought to have been said ; and is 
historically true in spirit if not in fact. 

It is needless to suggest the mighty issues that hung upon this 

The Athenians were drawn up in order of battle in a 
sacred close belonging to Heracles, when they were joined 
by the Platseans, who came in full force to their aid. 

The Athenian generals were divided in their opinions; 
and some advised not to risk a battle, because they were 
too few to engage such a host as that of the Hedes, 1 while 
others were for fighting at once ; and among these last was 
Miltiades. He therefore, seeing that opinions were thus di- 
vided, and that the less worthy counsel appeared .likely 
to prevail, resolved to go to the polemarch, and have a 
conference with him. For the man on whom the lot fell 
to be polemarch 2 at Athens was entitled to give his vote 
with the ten generals, since anciently 8 the Athenians 
allowed him an equal right of voting with them. The pole- 

iThis is the term frequently used by the Greeks in reference to the 
Persians. . . - 

2 The polemarch, or war-archon, was the third archon in dignity. 
* When Herodotus wrote, the polemarch had no military functions at all. 


march at this juncture was Callimachus of Aphidnae; to 
him therefore Miltiades went, and said : 

" "With thee it rests, Callimachus, either to bring Athens to 
slavery, or, by securing her freedom, to leave behind thee 
to all future generations a memory beyond even Harmodius 
and Aristogeiton. For never since the time that the Athe- 
nians became a people were they in so great a danger as now. 
If they bow their necks beneath the yoke of the Medes, the 
woes which they will have to suffer when given into the 
power of Hippias are already determined on ; if, on the other 
hand, they fight and overcome, Athens may rise to be the 
very first city in Greece. How it comes to pass that these 
things are likely to happen, and how the determining of 
them in some sort rests with thee, I will now proceed to 
make clear. We generals are ten in number, and our votes 
are divided: half of us wish to engage, half to avoid a 
combat. Now, if we do not fight, I look to see a great dis- 
turbance at Athens which will shake men's resolutions, 
and then I fear they will submit themselves; but if we 
fight the battle before any un soundness show itself among 
our citizens, let the gods but give us fair play, and we are 
well able to overcome the enemy. On thee therefore we 
depend in this matter, which lies wholly in thine own power. 
Thou hast only to add thy vote to my side and thy country 
will be free, and not free only, but the first state in Greece. 
Or, if thou preferrest to give thy vote to them who would 
decline the combat, then the reverse will f ollow." 

Miltiades by these words gained Callimachus; and the 
addition of the polemarch's vote caused the decision to be in 
favor of fighting. Hereupon all those generals who had 
been desirous of hazarding a battle, when their turn came to 
command the army, gave up their right to Miltiades. He 
however, though he accepted their offers, nevertheless waited, 
and would not fight, until his own day of command arrived 
in due course. 


Then at length, when his own turn was come, the Athe- 
nian battle was set in array, and this was the order of it. 
Callimachus the polemarch led the right wing ; for it was 
at that time a rule with the Athenians to give the right wing 
to the polemarch. 1 After this followed the tribes, according 
as they were numbered, in an unbroken line ; while last of 
all came the Plataeans, forming the left wing. And ever 
since that day it has been a custom with the Athenians, in 
the sacrifices and assemblies held each fifth year at Athens, 2 
for the Athenian herald to implore the blessing of the gods 
on the Plataeans conjointly with the Athenians. Now, as 
they marshaled the host upon the field of Marathon, in 
order that the Athenian front might be of equal length with 
the Median, the ranks of the center were diminished, and it 
became the weakest part of the line, while the wings were 
both made strong with a depth of many ranks. 

The Battle is Joined 

So when the battle was set in array, and the victims 
showed themselves favorable, instantly the Athenians, so 
soon as they were let go, charged the barbarians at a run. 
Now the distance between the two armies was little short 
of eight furlongs. 8 The Persians, therefore, when they saw 
the Greeks coming on at speed, made ready to receive them, 
although it seemed to them that the Athenians were bereft of 
their senses, and bent upon their own destruction; for they 

* The right wing was the special post of honor. The polemarch took 
the post as representative of the king, whose position it had been in the 
ancient times. 

2 The Panathenaic festival is probably intended. It was held every 
fifth year (i.e. once in every four years, halfway between the Olympic 
festivals), and was the great religious assembly of the Athenians. 

* This distance is a little less than a mile. The object of Miltiades in 
putting his men on the run was to get them through the zone of the terrible 
Persian arrow fire as soon as possible. Very likely the actual "running " 
was confined to the last two hundred yards : the stadium-trained men of 
Miltiades could do this even in armor. 


saw a mere handful of men coming on at a run without 
either horsemen or archers. Such, was the opinion of the 
barbarians ; but the Athenians in close array fell upon them, 
and fought in a manner worthy of being recorded. They 
were the first of the Greeks, so far as I know, who intro- 
duced the custom of charging the enemy at a run, and they 
were likewise the first who dared to look upon the Median 
garb, and to face men clad in that fashion. Until this time 
the very name of the Medes had been a terror to the Greeks 
to hear. 

The two armies fought together on the plain of Marathon 
for a length of time; and in the mid-battle, where the Per- 
sians themselves and the Sacse had their place, the barbarians 
were victorious, and broke and pursued the Greeks into the 
inner country ; but on the two wings the Athenians and the 
Platseans defeated the enemy. Having so done, they suffered 
the routed barbarians to fly at their ease, and joining the 
two wings in one, fell upon those who had broken their own 
center, and fought and conquered them. These likewise fled, 
and now the Athenians hung upon the runaways and cut them 
down, chasing them all the way to the shore, on reaching 
which they laid hold of the ships and called aloud for fire. 

The Last Phase of the Battle 

It was in the struggle here that Callimachus the pole- 
march, after greatly distinguishing himself, lost his life; 
Stesilatls too, the son of Thrasilaus, one of the generals, was 
slain 5 and Cynaegirus, the son of Eupharion, having seized 
on a vessel of the enemy's by the ornament at the stern, 1 
had his hand cut off by the blow of an ax, and so perished; 
as likewise did many other Athenians of note and name. 

i The ornament at the stern consisted of wooden planks curved grace- 
fully in continuation of the sweep by which the stern of the ancient ship 
rose from the sea. Vessels were ordinarily ranged along a beach with their 
sterns towards the shore, and thus were liable to be seized by the stem 


Nevertheless the Athenians secured in this way seven 
of the vessels; while with the remainder the barbarians 
pushed off, and taking aboard their Eretrian prisoners from 
the island where they had left them, doubled Cape Sunium, 
hoping to reach Athens before the return of the Athenians. 
The Alcmseonidae were accused by their countrymen of sug- 
gesting this course to them ; they had, it was said, an under- 
standing with the Persians, and made a signal to them, 
by raising a shield, after they were embarked in their 

The Persians accordingly sailed round Sunium. But the 
Athenians with all possible speed marched away to the 
defense of their city, and succeeded in reaching Athens be- 
fore the appearance of the barbarians : and as their camp at 
Marathon had been pitched in a precinct of Heracles, so now 
they encamped in another precinct of the same god at 
Cynosarges. The barbarian fleet arrived, and lay to off 
Phalerum, which was at that time the haven of Athens; 
but after resting awhile upon their oars, they departed and 
sailed away to Asia. 

Various Details and Legends 

There fell in this battle of Marathon, on the side of the 
barbarians, about six thousand and four hundred men ; on 
that of the Athenians, one hundred and ninety-two. Such 
was the number of the slain on the one side and the other. 
A strange prodigy likewise happened at this fight. Epizlus, 
the son of Cuphagoras, an Athenian, was in the thick of the 
fray, and behaving himself as a brave man should, when 
suddenly he was stricken with blindness, without blow of 
sword or dart; and this blindness continued thenceforth 
during the whole of his after life. The following is the 
account which he himself, as I have heard, gave of the 
matter : he said that a gigantic warrior, with a huge beard, 
which shaded all his shield, stood over against him j but the 


ghostly semblance passed him by, and slew the man at his 
side. Such, as I understand, was the tale which EpizSlus 
told. 1 

After the full of the moon two thousand Lacedaemonians 
came to Athens. So eager had they been to arrive in time, 
that they took but three days to reach Attica from Sparta. 
They came, however, too late for the battle ; yet, as they 
had a longing to behold the Medes, they continued their 
march to Marathon and there viewed the slain. Then, after 
giving the Athenians all praise for their achievement, they 
departed and returned home. 


Plutarch, " Life of Aristides," HE ff. 

Aristides was ostracized probably in 483 B.O. The years follow- 
ing Marathon seem to have been consumed at Athens in a bitter 
contention as to the true military policy. Aristides and the old 
conservative party would fain restrict the navy, and trust, in case 
the Persians returned, to the hoplites who had served so well at 
Marathon. Themistocles and the "young democrats" were in 
favor of a large navy, and staking everything on gaining control of 
the sea. The contest of course often drifted away from the public 
issue and turned on the merest personalities. The character of 
Aristides was infinitely superior to that of his opponent ; but it 
would have been, ruinous to Athens, to Greece, and to civilization, 
if his non-naval policy had prevailed. 

However, Themistocles making many dangerous alter- 
ations, and withstanding and interrupting him in the whole 
series of his actions, Aristides also was necessitated to set 
himself against all Themistocles did, partly in self-defense, 
and partly to impede his power from still increasing by the 
favor of the multitude ; esteeming it better to let slip some 

* According to Plutarch, Theseus (the Athenian national hero) was seen 
by a great number of the Athenians fighting on their side against the 

490-483 B.C.] ARISTIDES 145 

public conveniences, rather than that he by prevailing should 
become powerful in all things. In fine, when he once had 
opposed Themistocles in some measures that were expedient, 
and had got the better of him, he could not refrain from 
saying, when he left the assembly, that unless they sent 
Themistocles and himself to the barathrum, 1 there could be 
no safety for Athens. Another time, when urging some 
proposal upon the people, though there were much opposi- 
tion and stirring against it, he yet was gaining the day ; hut 
just as the president of the assembly was about to put it to the 
vote, perceiving by what had been said in debate the inex- 
pediency of his advice, he let it fall. Also he often brought 
in his propositions read by other persons, lest Themistocles, 
through party spirit against him, should be any hindrance 
to the good of the public. 

In all the vicissitudes of public affairs, the constancy he 
showed was admirable, not being elated with honors, and 
demeaning himself tranquilly and sedately in adversity; 
holding the opinion that he ought to offer himself to the serv- 
ice of his country without mercenary views and irrespec- 
tively of any reward, not only of riches, but even glory itself. 
Hence it came, probably, that at the recital of these verses 
of JSschylus in the theater, relating to Amphiaraus, 

" For not at seeming just, but being so 
He aims ; and from his depth of soil below, 
Harvests of wise and prudent counsels grow," 

the eyes of all the spectators turned on Aristides, as if this 
virtue, in an especial manner, belonged to him. 

Examples of Aristides's Probity 

He was a most determined champion for justice, not only 
against feelings of friendship and favor, but wrath and mal- 

i A pit into which the dead bodies of malefactors, or perhaps actually 
living malefactors, were thrown. 


ice. Thus it is reported of him that when prosecuting the 
law against one who was his enemy, on the judges after ac- 
cusation refusing to hear the criminal, and proceeding imme- 
diately to pass sentence upon him, he rose in haste from his 
seat and joined in petition with him for a hearing, and that 
he might enjoy the privilege of the law. Another time, 
when judging between two private persons, on the one de- 
claring his adversary had very much injured Aristides; 
" Tell me rather, good friend," he said, " what wrong he has 
done you : for it is your cause, not my own, which I now 
sit judge of." Being chosen to the charge of the public 
revenue, he made it appear, that not only those of his time, 
but the preceding officers, had alienated much treasure, and 
especially Themistocles : 

" Well known he was an able man to be, 
But with his fingers apt to be too free." 

Therefore, Themistocles, associating several persons against 
Aristides, and impeaching him when he gave in his accounts, 
caused him to be condemned of robbing the public ; so Idom- 
eneus states ; but the best and chief est men of the city 
much resenting it, he was not only exempted from the fine 
imposed upon him, but likewise again called to the same 
employment. Pretending now to repent him of his former 
practice, and carrying himself with more remissness, he be- 
came acceptable to such as pillaged the treasury, by not de- 
tecting or calling them to an exact account. So that those 
who had their fill of the public money began highly to ap- 
plaud Aristides, and sued to the people, making interest to 
have him once more chosen treasurer. But when they were 
on the point of election, he reproved the Athenians. " When 
I discharged my office well and faithfully," said he, "I was 
insulted and abused; but now that I have allowed the pub- 
lic thieves in a variety of malpractices, I am considered an 
admirable* patriot. I am more ashamed, therefore, of this 

483 B.C.] ARISTIDES 147 

present honor than of the former sentence 5 and I commiser- 
ate your condition, with whom it is more praiseworthy to 
oblige ill men than to conserve the revenue of the public." 
Saying thus, and proceding to expose the thefts that had 
been committed, he stopped the mouths of those who cried 
him up and vouched for him, but gained real and true com- 
mendation from the best men. 

[At Marathon he was one of the Athenian commanders ; he sec- 
onded the aggressive plans of Miltiades heartily ; and after the 
battle, being left in charge of the spoil, guarded it from peculation 
with perfect integrity.] 

Of all his virtues, the common people were most affected 
with his justice, because of its continual and common use; 
and thus, although of mean fortune and ordinary birth, 
he possessed himself of the most kingly and divine appella- 
tion of "Just"; which kings, however, and tyrants have 
never sought after ; but have taken delight to be surnamed 
besiegers of cities, thunderers, conquerors, or eagles again, 
and hawks; 1 affecting, it seems, the reputation which pro- 
ceeds from power and violence, rather than that of 
virtue. . . . Aristides, therefore, had at first the fortune to 
be beloved for this surname, but at length envied. Espe- 
cially when Theinistoeles spread a rumor amongst the people, 
that, by determining and judging all matters privately, 
he had destroyed the courts of judicature, and was secretly 
making way for a monarchy in his own person, without the 
assistance of guards. Moreover, the spirit of the people, 
now grown high, and confident with their late victory, 
naturally entertained feelings of dislike to all of more than 
common fame and reputation. 

i Demetrius Poliorcetes, tlie besieger, Ptolemy Ceraunus, the thunderer, 
and Demetrius Nicator, the conqueror, are the probable examples alluded 
to; with Pyrrhus who had the name of JEtus, the eagle, and Antiochus 
surnamed Hierax, the hawk. 


How Aristides suffered Ostracism 

Coming together, therefore, from all parts into the city, 
they banished Aristides by the ostracism, giving their jeal- 
ousy of his reputation the name of fear of tyranny. For 
ostracism was riot the punishment of any criminal act, but 
was speciously said to be the mere depression and humilia- 
tion of excessive greatness and power; and was in fact a 
gentle relief and mitigation of envious feeling, which was 
thus allowed to vent itself in inflicting no intolerable injury, 
only a ten years' banishment. But after it came to be 
exercised upon base and villainous fellows they desisted 
from it ; Hyperbolus being the last whom they banished by 
the ostracism, [probably in 416 or 415 B.C.]. 

The cause of Hyperbolus's banishment is said to have 
been this. Alcibiades and Nicias, men that bore the great- 
est sway in the city, were of different factions. As the 
people, therefore, were about to vote the ostracism, and obvi- 
ously to decree it against one of them, consulting together 
and uniting their parties, they contrived the banishment of 
Hyperbolus. Upon which the people, being offended, as if 
some contempt or affront was put upon the thing, left off and 
quite abolished it. Ostracism was performed in this way. 
Every one taking an ostracon, a sherd, that is, or piece of 
earthenware, wrote upon it the citizen's name he would have 
banished, and carried it to a certain part of the market- 
place surrounded with wooden rails. First the magistrates 
numbered all the sherds in gross (for if there were less than 
six thousand, the ostracism was imperfect) ; then, laying 
every name by itself, they pronounced him whose name was 
written by the larger number, banished for ten years, with, 
however, the enjoyment of his estate. 

When they were writing the names on the sherds, it is 
reported that an illiterate clownish fellow, giving Aristides 
his sherd, supposing him a common citizen, begged him to 

480-468 B.C.] ABISTIDES 149 

write Aristides upon it ; and he being surprised and asking 
if Aristides had ever done him any injury, "None at all," 
said he, " neither know I the man ; but I am tired of hearing 
Mm everywhere called the Just" Aristides, hearing this, is 
said to have made no reply, but returned the sherd with his 
own name inscribed. At his departure from the city, lifting 
up his hands to heaven, he made a prayer (the reverse, it 
would seem, of that of Achilles), that the Athenians might 
never have any occasion which should constrain them to 
remember Aristides. 

How Aristides was recalled from Banishment 

Nevertheless, three years after, when Xerxes marched 
through Thessaly and Bceotia into the country of Attica, 
repealing the law, they decreed the return of the banished : 
chiefly fearing Aristides, lest, joining himself to the enemy, 
he should corrupt and bring over many of his fellow-citizens 
to the party of the barbarians : much mistaking the man, 
who, already before the decree, was exerting himself to 
excite and encourage the Greeks to the defense of their 
liberty. And afterwards, when Themistocles was general 
with absolute power, he assisted him in all ways both in 
action and counsel ; rendering, in consideration of the com- 
mon security, the greatest enemy he had the most glorious 
of men. 

[The rest of his career he spent most honorably in the public 
service, opposing divers dishonorable projects of Themistocles and 
aiding the Athenians to organize their " Naval Confederacy." He 
died probably in 468 B.C., having very likely seen the ostracism of 
his great rival.] 

His monument is to be seen at Phalerum, which they say 
was built him by the city, he not having left enough even to 
defray funeral charges. And it is stated, that his two 
daughters were publicly married out of the prytaneum, or 
statehouse, by the city, which decreed each of them three 


thousand drachmas [about $540.00] for her portion ; and 
that upon his sonLysimachus, the people bestowed a hundred 
minas [about $1800.00] of money, and as many acres of 
planted land, and ordered him besides, upon the motion of 
Alcibiades, four drachmas [about 72 cents] a day. 


Herodotus, book VH, chaps. 138-144 

Herodotus wrote the following possibly about 435 B.C. at a 
time when Athens was extremely unpopular throughout Hellas. 
In judging the position of the Athenians when Xerxes entered 
Greece in 480 B.C., it should be remembered : (1) they were the 
particular objects of Persian attack, singled out for special ven- 
geance, and therefore with more to dread than other Hellenes ; 

(2) they had just grounds for lacMng confidence in then* allies ; 

(3) the old religious belief was still strong with them, and they 
stood in honest awe of the opinion of the Delphic oracle, even if 
there were reasons for feeling that the Pythoness had been cor- 
rupted by Persia. It was a great moral victory which the Athe- 
nian people won over its own fears, when it resolved to accept the 
interpretation and advice of Themistocles, and to stake all upon 
their fleet. 

The expedition of the Persian king, though it was in 
name directed against Athens, threatened really the whole 
of Greece. And of this the Greeks were aware some time 
before 5 but they did not all view the matter in the same 
light. Some of them had given the Persian earth and 
water, and were bold on this account, deeming themselves 
thereby secured against suffering hurt from the barbarian 
army; while others, who had refused compliance, were 
thrown into extreme alarm. For whereas they considered 
all the ships in Greece too few to engage the enemy, it was 
plain that the greater number of states would take no part 
in the war, but warmly favored the Medes. 


And here I feel constrained to deliver an opinion, which 
most men, I know, will mislike, but which, as it seems to 
me to be true, I am determined not to withhold. Had the 
Athenians, from fear of the approaching danger, quitted 
their country, or had they without quitting it submitted to 
the power of Xerxes, there would certainly have been no 
attempt to resist the Persians by sea; in which case the 
course of events by land would have been the following. 
Though the Peloponnesians might have carried ever so many 
breastworks across the Isthmus, yet their allies would have 
fallen off from the Lacedaemonians, not by voluntary deser- 
tion, but because town after town must have been taken by 
the fleet of the barbarians; and so the Lacedaemonians 
would at last have stood alone, and, standing alone, would 
have displayed prodigies of valor, and died nobly. Either 
they would have done thus, or else, before it came to that 
extremity, seeing one Greek state after another embrace 
the cause of the Medes, they would have come to terms 
with King Xerxes, and thus, either way Greece would 
have been brought under Persia. For I cannot understand 
of what possible use the walls across the Isthmus could 
have been, if the king had had the mastery of the sea. 
If then a man should now say that the Athenians were the 
saviors of Greece, he would not exceed the truth. For 
they truly held the scales; and whichever side they es- 
poused must have carried the day. They, too, it was who, 
when they had determined to maintain the freedom of 
Greece, roused up that portion of the Greek nation which 
had not gone over to the Medes ; and so, next to the gods, 
they repulsed the invader. Even the terrible oracles which 
reached them from Delphi, and struck fear into their hearts, 
failed to persuade them to fly from Greece. They had the 
courage to remain faithful to their land, and await the com- 
ing of the foe. 

When the Athenians, anxious to consult the oracle, sent 


their messengers to Delphi, hardly had the envoys completed 
the customary .rites about the sacred precinct, and taken 
their seats inside the sanctuary of the god, when the Py- 
thoness, Aristonice by name, thus prophesied : 

" Wretches, why sit ye here ? Fly, fly to the ends of creation, 
Quitting your homes, and the crags which your city crowns with her 


Neither the head, nor the body is firm in its place, nor at hottom 
Firm the feet, nor the hands ; nor resteth the middle uninjur'd. 
All all ruined and lost. Since fire, and impetuous Ares, 
Speeding along in a Syrian chariot, 1 hastes to destroy her. 
Not alone shalt thou suffer ; full many the towers he will level, 
Many the shrines of the gods he will give to a fiery destruction. 
Even now they stand with dark sweat horribly dripping, 
Trembling and quaking for fear ; and, lo ! from the high roofs trickleth 
Black blood, sign prophetic of hard distresses impending. 
Get ye away from the temple ; and brood on the ills that await ye ! " 

When the Athenian messengers heard this reply, they 
were filled with the deepest affliction : whereupon Timon, 
the son of Androbftlus, one of the men of most mark among 
the Delphians, seeing how utterly cast down they were at 
the gloomy prophecy, advised them to take an olive branch, 
and entering the sanctuary again, consult the oracle as sup- 
pliants. The Athenians followed this advice, and going in 
once more, said "0 king! we pray thee reverence these 
boughs of supplication which we bear in our hands, and de- 
liver to us something more comforting concerning our coun- 
try. Else we will not leave thy sanctuary, but will stay 
here till we die." Upon this the priestess gave them a 
second answer, which was the following : 
41 Pallas has not been able to soften the lord of Olympus, 
Though she has often prayed him, and urged him with excellent 


Yet once more I address thee in words than adamant firmer, 
When the foe shall have taken whatever the limit of Cecrops 2 
1 That is, Assyrian. 
By the " limit of Cecrops " the boundaries of Attica are intended. 


Holds within it, and all which divine Cithseron * shelters, 
Then far-seeing Zeus grants this to the prayers of Athen ; 
Safe shall the wooden wall continue for thee and thy children. 
Wait not the tramp of the horse, nor the footmen mightily moving 
Over the land, but turn your hack to the foe, and retire ye. 
Yet shall a day arrive when ye shall meet him in battle. 
Holy Salamis, thou shalt destroy the offspring of women, 
When men scatter the seed, or when they gather the harvest." 

This answer seemed, as indeed it was, gentler than the 
former one ; so the envoys wrote it down, and went back 
with it to Athens. When, however, upon their arrival, they 
produced it before the people, and inquiry began to be made 
into its true meaning, many and various were the interpre- 
tations which men put on it ; two, more especially, seemed 
to be directly opposed to one another. Certain of the old 
men were of opinion that the god meant to tell them the 
citadel would escape ; for this was anciently defended by a 
palisade ; and they supposed that barrier to be the " wooden 
wall " of the oracle. Others maintained that the fleet was 
what the god pointed at ; and their advice was that nothing 
should be thought of except the ships, which had best be at 
once got ready. Still such as said the " wooden wall " meant 
the fleet, were perplexed by the last two lines of the oracle 

" Holy Salamis, thou shalt destroy the offspring of women, 
When men scatter the seed, or when they gather the harvest." 

These words caused great disturbance among those who 
took the wooden wall to be the ships ; since the interpreters 
understood them to mean, that, if they made preparations 
for a sea fight, they would suffer a defeat off Salamis. 

Now there was at Athens a man who had lately made his 
way into the first rank of citizens: his true name was 
Themistocles ; but he was known more generally as the son 
of Neocles. 2 This man came forward and said, that the 

iThe mountain range between Bceotia and Attica. 
The practice of addressing persons by their fathers' names was 
common in Greece. 


interpreters had not explained the oracle altogether aright 
" for if," he argued, " the clause in question had really re- 
spected the Athenians, it would not have been expressed so 
mildly ; the phrase used would have been ' Luckless Salamis,' 
rather than ' Holy Salamis/ had those to whom the island 
belonged been about to perish in its neighborhood. Rightly 
taken, the response of the god threatened the enemy, much 
more than the Athenians." He therefore counseled his 
countrymen to make ready to fight on board their ships, 
since they were the wooden wall in which the god told them 
to trust. When Themistocles had thus cleared the matter, 
the Athenians embraced his view, preferring it to that of the 
interpreters. The advice of these last had been against 
engaging in a sea fight ; " all the Athenians could do," they 
said, " was, without lifting a hand in their defense, to quit 
Attica, and make a settlement in some other country." 

Themistocles had before this given a counsel which pre- 
vailed very seasonably. The Athenians, having a large 
sum of money in their treasury, the produce of the mines at 
Laurion, 1 were about to share it among the full-grown citi- 
zens, who would have received ten drachmas apiece, when 
Themistocles persuaded them to forbear the distribution, 
and build with the money two hundred ships, to help them 
in their war against the JSginetans. It was the breaking 
out of the JSginetan war which was at this time the saving 
of Greece ; for hereby were the Athenians forced to become 
a maritime power. The new ships were not used for the 
purpose for which they had been built, but became a help to 
Greece in her hour of need. And the Athenians had not 
only these vessels ready before the war, but they likewise 
set to work to build more 5 while they determined, in a 

1 Laurion was the name of the mountainous country immediately 
above Cape Colonna (Sunium). The silver mines, with which the whole 
tract abounded, had been worked from time immemorial. They belonged 
to the Athenian government and were an important source of revenue. 


council which was held after the debate upon the oracle, 
that, according to the advice of the god, they would embark 
their whole force aboard their ships, and, with such Greeks 
as chose to join them, give battle to the barbarian invader. 


Herodotus, book VH,* chaps. 60-83.. passim 

The Persians, unlike some other conquerors, were not unwilling 
to arm the subject populations, and use their contingents to swell 
their own host. The result was, that Xerxes commanded one of 
the most heterogeneous armies imaginable. As to the vast numbers 
given by Herodotus, one should consider that, (1) before the battles 
it would flatter the King's vanity to have his army represented as 
large as possible ; (2) after the battles the Greeks would exagger- 
ate their enemies as much as possible. Every student is at liberty 
to attempt a guess as to the actual numbers, always remember- 
ing the difficulty of feeding a good-sized army in a relatively 
barren country like Greece. 

What the exact number of troops of each nation was I 
cannot say with certainty for it is not mentioned by any 
one "but the whole land army together was found to amount 
to one million seven hundred thousand men. The manner in 
which the numbering took place was the following. A 
body of ten thousand men was brought to a certain place, 
and the men were made to stand as close together as 
possible ; after which a circle was drawn around them, and 
the men were let go: then where the circle had been, a 
fence was built about the height of a man's middle; and 
the inclosure was filled continually with fresh troops, till 
the wh6le army had in this way been numbered. When 
the numbering was over, the troops were drawn up according 
to their several nations. 

Now these were the nations that took part in this expedi- 
tion. The PersianSj who wore on their heads the soft hat 


called the tiara, and about their bodies, tunics with sleeves, 
of divers colors, having iron scales upon them like the scales 
of a fish. Their legs were protected by trousers ; and they 
bore wicker shields for bucklers ; their quivers hanging at 
their backs, and their arms being a short spear, a bow of 
uncommon size, and arrows of reed. They had likewise 
daggers suspended from their girdles along their right 
thighs. Otanes, the father of "Xerxes' wife, Amesfcris, was 
their leader. 

The Medes had exactly the same equipment as the 
Persians ; and indeed the dress common to both is not so 
much Persian as Median. They had for commander Ti-, of the race of the Acheemenids. 

The Contingents from the Subject Peoples 

The Cissians were equipped in the Persian fashion, 
except in one respect : they wore on their heads, instead 
of hats, fillets. 

The Hyrcanians were likewise armed in the same way as 
the Persians. 

The Assyrians went to the war with helmets upon their 
heads made of brass, and plaited in a strange fashion which 
it is not easy to describe. They carried shields, lances, 
and daggers very like the Egyptian ; but in addition, they 
had wooden clubs knotted with iron, and linen corselets. 

The Bactrians went to the war wearing a headdress very 
like the Median, but armed with bows of cane, after the 
custom of their country, and with short spears. 

The Sacse, or Scyths, were clad in trousers, and had on 
their heads tall stiff caps rising to a point. They bore the 
bow of their country and the dagger ; besides which they 
carried the battle-ax, or sagaris. 

The Indians wore cotton dresses, and carried bows of 
cane, and arrows also of cane with iron at the point. 


The Arians carried Median bows, but in other respects 
were equipped like the Bactrians. 

The Parthians and Chorasmians, with the Sogdians, the 
Gandarians, and the Dadicse, had the Bactrian equipment 
in all respects. 

The Sarangians had dyed garments which showed brightly, 
and buskins which reached to the : they bore Median 
bows, and lances. 

The Arabians wore the aseira, or long cloak, fastened 
about them with a girdle ; and carried at their right side 
long bows, which when unstrung bent backwards. 

The Ethiopians were clothed in the skins of leopards and 
lions, and had long bows made of the stem of the palm leaf, 
not less than four cubits in length. On these they laid short 
arrows made of reed, and armed at the tip, not with iron, 
but with a piece of stone, sharpened to a point, of the kind 
used in engraving seals. They carried likewise spears, the 
head of which was the sharpened horn of an antelope ; and 
in addition they had knotted clubs. When they went into 
battle they painted their bodies, half with chalk, and half 
with vermilion. 

The Organization and the Life Guardsmen 

Such were the nations who fought upon the dry land, and 
made up the infantry of the Persians. And they were com- 
manded by the captains whose names have been above re- 
corded. The marshaling and numbering of the troops had 
been committed to them ; and by them were appointed the 
captains over a thousand, and the captains over ten thousand; 
but the leaders of ten men, or a hundred, were named by 
the captains over ten thousand. 

The whole of the infantry was under the command of 
these generals, excepting the Ten Thousand. The Ten 
Thousand, who were all Persians and all picked men, were 
led by Hydarnes, the son of Hydarnes. They were called 


" the Immortals," for the following reason. If one of their 
body failed either by the stroke of death or of disease, forth- 
with his place was filled up by another man, so that their 
number was at no time either greater or less than 10,000. 

Of all the troops the Persians were adorned with the 
greatest magnificence, and they were likewise the most 
valiant. Besides their arms, which have been already de- 
scribed, they glittered all over with gold, vast quantities of 
which they wore about their persons. They were followed 
by litters, wherein rode their concubines, and by a numerous 
train of attendants handsomely dressed. Camels and suinp- 
ter beasts carried their provision, apart from that of the 
other soldiers. 

[There was also a vast corps of cavalry sent by many different 
nations, and magnificently armed.] 



Herodotus, book VII, chaps. 33-44 

In 480 B.C. Xerxes began his march from Asia into Hellas. All 
the preparations for the invasion had been on such a vast scale, 
the resources of the greatest empire the world had hitherto seen 
had been drawn upon so amply, that the terrified Greeks had good 
cause to remind one another. that the Great King "was not a 
god but only a man.'* 

As afterward viewed by such persons as Herodotus, Xerxes' 
whole proceedings, the bridging of the Hellespont, the scourging 
of the sea, the digging of the Mount Athos Canal, the assembling 
of the vast host by land and water, were a challenge of overweening 
human pride to heaven: a challenge that provoked a terrible 

Xerxes, after this, made preparations to advance to Abydos, 
where the bridge across the Hellespont from Asia to Europe 
was lately finished. Midway between Sestos and Madytus 


in the Hellespontine Chersonese, and right over against 
Abydos, there is a rocky tongue of land which runs out for 
some distance into the sea. 

Towards this, then, the men to whom the business was 
assigned carried out a double bridge from Abydos; and 
while the Phoenicians constructed one line with cables of 
white flax, the Egyptians in the other used ropes made of 
papyrus. Kow it is seven furlongs l across from Abydos to 
the opposite coast. When, therefore, the channel had been 
bridged successfully, it happened that a great storm arising 
broke the whole work to pieces, and destroyed all that had 
been done. 

So when Xerxes heard of it he was full of wrath, and 
straightway gave orders that the Hellespont should receive 
three hundred lashes, and that a pair of fetters should be 
cast into it. Nay, 1 have even heard it said, that he bade 
the branders take their irons and therewith brand the Hel- 
lespont. It is certain that he commanded those who 
scourged the waters to utter, as they lashed them, these 
barbarian and wicked words : " Thou bitter water, thy lord 
lays on thee this punishment because thou hast wronged 
him without a cause, having suffered no evil at his hands. 
Verily King Xerxes will cross thee, ivJiether thou wilt or no ! 
Well dost thou deserve that no man should honor thee 
with sacrifice ; for thou art of a truth a treacherous and un- 
savory river." While the sea was thus punished by his or- 
ders, he likewise commanded that the overseers of the work 
should lose their heads. 

Then, they, whose business it was, executed the unpleasing 
task laid upon them ; and other master builders were set 
over the work, who accomplished it in the way which I will 
now describe. 

1 Something less than a mile. 


The Bridge across the Hellespont 

They joined together triremes and penteconters, 360 to 
support the bridge on the side of the Euxine Sea, and 314 
to sustain the other ; and these they placed at right angles 
to the sea, and in the direction of the current of the Helles- 
pont, relieving by these means the tension of the shore cables. 
Having joined the vessels, they moored them with anchors 
of unusual size, that the vessels of the bridge towards the 
Euxine might resist the winds which blow from within the 
straits, and that those of the more western bridge facing 
the JEgean might withstand the winds which set in from the 
south and from the southeast. A gap was left in the pente- 
conters in no fewer than three places, to afford a passage for 
such light craft as chose to enter or leave the Euxine. When 
all this was done, they made the cables taut from the shore 
by the help of wooden capstans. This time, moreover, in- 
stead of using the two materials separately, they assigned 
to eaxsh bridge six cables, two of which were of white flax, 
while four were of papyrus. Both cables were of the same 
size and quality; but the flaxen were the heavier, weigh- 
ing not less than a talent the cubit. When the bridge across 
the channel was thus complete, trunks of trees were sawn 
into planks, which were cut to the width of the bridge, and 
these were laid side "by side upon the tightened cables, and 
then fastened on the top. This done, brushwood was brought, 
and arranged upon the planks, after which earth was heaped 
upon the brushwood, and the whole trodden down into a 
solid mass. Lastly a bulwark was set up on either side of 
this causeway, of such a height as to prevent the sumpter 
beasts and the horses from seeing over it and taking fright 
at the water. 

And now when all was prepared, the bridges, and the 
works at Athos, the breakwaters about the mouths of the 
cutting, which were made to hinder the surf from blocking 


up the entrances, and the cutting itself; and when the news 
came to Xerxes that this last was completely finished, 
then at length the host, having first wintered at Sardis, 
began its march towards Abydos, fully equipped, on the first 
approach of spring. At the moment of departure, the sun 
suddenly quitted his seat in the heavens, and disappeared, 
though there were no clouds in sight, but the sky was clear 
and serene. Day was thus turned into night ; whereupon 
Xerxes, who saw and remarked the prodigy, was seized with 
alarm, and sending at once for the Magians, inquired of 
them the meaning of the portent. They replied " God is 
foreshowing to the Greeks the destruction of their cities ; 
for the sun foretells for them, and the inoon for us." So 
Xerxes, thus instructed, proceeded on his way with great 
gladness of heart. 

The Persian Order of March 

First of all in the march went the baggage bearers, and the 
sumpter beasts, and then a vast crowd of many nations 
mingled together without any intervals, amounting to more 
than one half of the army. After these troops an empty 
space was left, to separate between them and the king. In 
front of the king went first a thousand horsemen, picked 
men of the Persian nation then spearmen a thousand, like- 
wise chosen troops, with their spearheads pointing towards 
the ground next ten of the sacred horses called Nisaean, 
all daintily caparisoned. (Now these horses are called 
Nisaean, because they come from the Nisaean plain, a vast 
flat in Media, producing horses of unusual size.) After the 
ten sacred horses came the holy chariot of Zeus, 1 drawn by 
eight milk-white steeds, with the charioteer on foot behind 
them holding the reins; for no mortal is ever allowed to 

i This does not mean that the Persians worshiped the same gods that 
the Greeks did, but merely shows the Greek custom of identifying foreign 
deities with their own. The god referred to is Ahura-Mazda. 


mount into the car. Next to this came Xerxes, himself rid- 
ing in a chariot drawn by Nisaean horses, with his charioteer, 
Patiramphes, the son of Otanes, a Persian, standing by his 

Thus rode forth Xerxes from Sardis but he was accus- 
tomed every now and then, when the fancy took him, to 
alight from his chariot and travel in a litter. Immediately 
behind the king there followed a body of a thousand spear- 
men, the noblest and bravest of the Persians, holding their 
lances in the usual manner then came a thousand Persian 
horse, picked men then ten thousand, picked also after 
the rest, and serving on foot. Of these last one thousand 
carried spears with golden pomegranates at their lower end 
instead of spikes ; and these encircled the other nine thou- 
sand, who bore on their spears pomegranates of silver. The 
spearmen, too, who pointed their lances towards the ground 
had golden pomegranates ; and the thousand Persians who 
followed close after Xerxes had golden apples. Behind the 
ten thousand footmen came a body of Persian cavalry, like- 
wise ten thousand ; after which there was again a void space 
for as much as two furlongs ; and then the rest of the army 
followed in a confused crowd. 

Arrived [atAbydos on the Hellespont], Xerxes wished to 
look upon all his host ; so as there was a throne of white 
marble upon a hill near the city, which they of Abydos had 
prepared beforehand, by the king's bidding, for his especial 
use, Xerxes took his seat on it, and, gazing thence upon the 
shore below, beheld at one view all his land forces and all 
his ships. While thus employed, he felt a desire to behold 
a sailing match among his ships, which accordingly took 
place, and was won by the Phoenicians of Sidon, much to 
the joy of Xerxes, who was delighted alike with the race 
and with his army. 



Herodotus, book VH, chaps. 118-120 

What the Greek towns of Mysia, Troas, Thrace, Chalcidice,' etc., 
had to undergo when Xerxes' host with its imperious lord de- 
scended upon them, is sufficiently shown in the following. Herod- 
otus (an Asiatic Greek himself) had ample opportunity as a boy 
to hear of the waste and ruin spread by the expedition. 

Now the Greeks, wlio had to feed the army and to enter- 
tain Xerxes, were brought thereby to the very extremity of 
distress, insomuch that some of them were forced even to 
forsake house and home. When the Thasians received and 
feasted the host, on account of their possessions upon the 
mainland, Antipater, the son of Orges, one of the citizens of 
best repute, and the man to whom the business was assigned, 
proved that the cost of the meal was four hundred talents 
of silver. 1 

And estimates almost to the same amount were made by 
the superintendents in other cities. For the entertainment, 
which had been ordered long beforehand and was reckoned 
to be of much consequence, was, in the manner of it, such 
as I will now describe. No sooner did the heralds who 
brought the orders give their message, than in every city 
the inhabitants made a division of their stores of corn, and 
proceeded to grind flour of wheat and of barley for many 
months together. Besides this, they purchased the best 
cattle that they could find, and fattened them; and fed 
poultry and waterfowl in ponds and buildings, to be in 
readiness for the army ; while they likewise prepared gold 
and silver vases and drinking cups, and whatsoever else is 
needed for the service of the table. These last preparations 
were made for the king only, and those who sat at meat 
with him ; for the rest of the army nothing was made ready 

i Nearly half a million dollars. 


beyond the food for which orders had been given. On the 
arrival of the Persians, a tent ready pitched for the purpose 
received Xerxes, who took his rest therein, while the soldiers 
remained under the open heaven. When the dinner hour 
came, great was the toil of those who entertained the army ; 
while the guests ate their fill, and then, after passing the 
night at the place, tore down the royal tent next morning, 
and seizing its contents, carried them all off, leaving nothing 

On one of these occasions Megacreon of Abdra wittily 
recommended his countrymen "to go to the temples in a 
body, men and women alike, and there take their station as 
suppliants, and beseech the gods that they would in future 
always spare them one half of the woes which might threaten 
their peace thanking them at the same time very warmly 
for their past goodness in that they had caused Xerxes to be 
content with only ONE meal in the day." For had the order been 
to provide breakfast for the king as well as dinner, the Ab- 
derites must either have fled before Xerxes came, or, if they 
awaited his coming, have been brought to absolute ruin. 


Herodotus, book VH, chaps. 146-147 

Xerxes was by no means lacking in a certain shrewdness, as is 
shown in the following anecdote. All we know of him shows him 
a man of very fair abilities and intentions, but these were direfully 
perverted by his being placed in a position of semidivine power, 
and by being constantly reminded that he was a demigod. Only a 
person of remarkable poise could have kept his moral balance under 
such circumstances. 

[When the Greek deputies at Corinth had arranged that] 
the quarrels between the various Greek states should be 
made up, first of all they sent into Asia three men as spies. 
These men reached Sardis, and took note of the king's forces, 


but, being discovered, were examined by order of the gen- 
erals who commanded the land army, and, having been con- 
demned to suffer death, were led out to execution. Xerxes, 
however, when the news reached him, disapproving the sen- 
tence of the generals, sent some of his bodyguard with 
instructions, if they found the spies still alive, to bring 
them into his presence. The messengers found the spies 
alive, and brought them before the king, who, when he 
heard the purpose for which they had come, gave orders to 
his guards to take them round the camp, and show them all 
the footmen and all the horse, letting them gaze at every- 
thing to their hearts' content ; then, when they were satis- 
fied, to send them away unharmed to whatever country they 

For these orders Xerxes gave afterwards the following 
reasons. " Had the spies been put to death, 3 ' he said, " the 
Greeks would have continued ignorant of the vastness of 
his army, which surpassed the common report of it ; while 
he would have done them a very small injury by killing 
three of their men. On the other hand, by the return of 
the spies to Greece, his power would become known ; and 
the Greeks," he expected, " would make surrender of their 
freedom before he began his march, by which means his 
troops would be saved all the trouble of an expedition." 


Herodotus, book TO, chaps. 201-212 

Herodotus's story of the battle of Thermopylae is one of the 
eternal classics, and needs no commentary to be read with enjoy- 
ment. The part given to Demaratus, the Spartan exile, is that of 
the unwelcome prophet of evil in the tragedy to hint and fore- 
shadow disaster to the man who seemed to be lifting his power 
among the gods : an effective touch characteristic of a writer who 
is almost more a poet than an historian. 


King Xerxes pitched his camp in the region of Malis called 
Trachinie, while on their side the Greeks occupied the 
straits. These straits the Greeks in general call Thermopylae 
(the Hot Gates) ; but the natives, and those who dwell in the 
neighborhood, call them Pylae (the Gates). Here then the 
two armies took their stand ; the one master of all the region 
lying north of Trachis, the other of the country extending 
southward of that place to the verge of the continent. 

The Greeks who at this spot awaited the coming of 
Xerxes were the following : From Sparta, three hundred men- 
at-arms ; from Arcadia, a thousand Tegeans and Mantineans, 
five hundred of each people ; a hundred and twenty Orchome- 
nians, from the Arcadian Orchomenus ; and a thousand from 
other cities : from Corinth, four hundred men ; from Phlius, 
two hundred; and from Mycenae, eighty. Such was the 
number from the Peloponnese. There were also present, 
from Bceotia, seven hundred Thespians and four hundred 

Besides these troops, the Locrians of Opus and the 
Phocians had obeyed the call of their countrymen, and sent, 
the former all the force they had, the latter a thousand men. 
For envoys had gone from the Greeks at Thermopylae among 
the Locrians and Phocians, to call on them for assistance, 
and to say " They were themselves but the vanguard of 
the host, sent to precede the main body, which might every 
day be expected to follow them. The sea was in good keep- 
ing, watched by the Athenians, the JSginetans, and the rest 
of the fleet. There was no cause why they should fear ; for 
after all the invader was not a god but a man ; and there 
never had been, and never would be, a man who was not 
liable to misfortunes from the very day of his birth, and 
those misfortunes greater in proportion to his own greatness. 
The assailant, therefore, being only a mortal, must needs fall 
from his glory." Thus urged, the Locrians and .the Phocians 
had come with their troops to Trachis. 


The various nations had each captains of their own undei 
whom they served ; but the one to whom all especially looked 
up, and who had the command of the entire force, was the 
Lacedaemonian, Leonidas. 

The force with Leonidas was sent forward by the Spartans 
in advance of their main body, that the sight of them might 
encourage the allies to fight, and hinder them from going 
over to the Medes, as it was likely they might have done 
had they seen that Sparta was backward. They intended 
presently, when they had celebrated the Carneian festival, 
which was what now kept them at home, to leave a garrison 
in Sparta, and hasten in full force to join the army. The 
rest of the allies also intended to act similarly ; for it hap- 
pened that the Olympic festival fell exactly at this same 
period. None of them looked to see the contest at Ther- 
mopylae decided so speedily ; wherefore they were content 
to send forward a mere advanced guard. Such accordingly 
were the intentions of the allies. 

The Greek forces at Thermopylae, when the Persian army 
drew near to the entrance of the pass, were seized with fear; 
and a council was held to consider about a retreat. It was 
the wish of the Peloponnesians generally that the army 
should fall back upon the Peloponnese, and there guard the 
Isthmus. But Leonidas, who saw with what indignation 
the Phocians and Locrians heard of this plan, gave his voice 
for remaining where they were, while they sent envoys to 
the several cities to ask for help, since they were too few to 
make a stand against an army like that of the Medes. 

How Xerxes found the Greeks in the Pass 

While this debate was going on, Xerxes sent a mounted 
spy to observe the Greeks, and note how many they were, 
and see what they were doing. He had heard, before he 
came out of Thessaly, that a few men were assembled at 
this place, and that at their head were certain Lacedsemoni- 


ans, under Leonidas, a descendant of Heracles. The horse- 
man rode up to the camp, and looked about him, but did not 
see the whole army ; for such as were on the further side of the 
wall (which had been rebuilt and was now carefully guarded) 
it was not possible for him to behold ; but he observed those 
on the outside, who were encamped in front of the rampart. 
It chanced that at this time the Lacedaemonians held the 
outer guard, and were seen by the spy, some of them en- 
gaged in gymnastic exercises, others combing their long hair. 
At this the spy greatly marveled, but he counted their num- 
ber, and when he had taken accurate note of everything, he 
rode back quietly ; for no one pursued after him, nor paid 
any heed to his visit. So he returned, and told Xerxes all 
that he had seen. 

Upon this, Xerxes, who had no means of surmising the 
truth namely, that the Spartans were preparing to do or 
die manfully but thought it laughable that they should be 
engaged in such employments, sent and called to his presence 
Demaratus * the son of Ariston, who still remained with the 
army. When he appeared Xerxes told him all that he had 
heard, and questioned him concerning the news, since he was 
anxious to understand the meaning of such behavior on the 
part of the Spartans. Then Demaratus said : 

"I spake to thee, king! concerning these men long 
since, when we had but just begun our march upon Greece ; 
thou, however, didst only laugh at my words, when I told 
thee of all this, which I saw would come to pass. Earnestly 
do I struggle at all times to speak truth to thee, sire ; and 
now listen to it once more. These men have coine to dispute 
the pass with us ; and it isfor this that they are now making 
ready. 'Tis their custom, when they are about to hazard 
their lives, to adorn their heads with care. Be assured, 
however, that if thou canst subdue the men who are here and 

1 A former king of Sparta who had been deposed and driven from 
Greece by Cleomenes, the other king. 


the Lacedaemonians who remain in Sparta, there is no 
other nation in all the world which will venture to lift a 
hand in their defense. Thou hast now to deal with the 
first kingdom and town in Greece, and with the bravest men.'* 

Then Xerxes, to whom what Demaratus said seemed alto- 
gether to surpass belief, asked further, " how it was possible 
for so small an army to contend with his ? " 

" king ! " Demaratus answered, " let me be treated as a 
liar, if matters fall not out as I say." 

How Leonidas repulsed the Persians 

But Xerxes was not persuaded any the more. Four 
whole days he suffered to go by, expecting that the 
Greeks would run away. When, however, he found on the 
fifth that they were not gone, thinking that their firm stand 
was mere impudence and recklessness, he grew wroth, and 
sent against them the Medes and Cissians, with orders to 
take them alive and bring them into his presence. Then the 
Medes rushed forward and charged the Greeks, but fell in 
vast numbers : others, however, took the places of the slain, 
and would not be beaten off, though they suffered terrible 
losses. In this way it became clear to all, and especially to 
the king, that though he had plenty of combatants, he had 
but very few warriors. The struggle, however, continued 
during the whole day. 

Then the Medes, having met so rough a reception, with- 
drew from the fight ; and their place was taken by the band 
of Persians under Hydarnes, whom the king called his " Im- 
mortals " : 1 they, it was thought, would soon finish the 
business. But when they joined battle with the Greeks, 
'twas with no better success than the Median detachment 
things went much as before the two armies fighting in a 
narrow space, and the barbarians using shorter spears 
than the Greeks, and having no advantage from their num- 
iSee pp. 157, 168, for the character of this formidable bodyguard. 


bers. The Lacedaemonians fought in a way worthy of note, 
and showed themselves far more skillful in fight than theii 
adversaries, often turning their backs, and making as though 
they were all flying away, on which the barbarians would 
rush after them with much noise and shouting, when the 
Spartans at their approach would wheel round and face their 
pursuers, in this way destroying vast numbers of the enerny. 
Some Spartans likewise fell in these encounters, but only a 
very few. At last the Persians, finding that all their efforts 
to gain the pass availed nothing, and- that, whether they 
attacked by divisions or in any other way, it was to no pur- 
pose, withdrew to their own quarters. 

During these assaults, it is said that Xerxes, who was 
watching the battle, thrice leaped from the throne on which he 
sate, in terror for his army. 

Next day the combat was renewed, but with no better suc- 
cess on the part of the barbarians. The Greeks were so few 
that the barbarians hoped to find them disabled, by reason 
of their wounds, from offering any further resistance ; and 
so they once more attacked them. But the Greeks were 
drawn up in detachments according to their cities, and bore 
the brunt of the battle in turns, all except the Phocians, 
who had been stationed on the mountain to guard the path- 
way. So, when the Persians found no difference between that 
day and the preceding, they again retired to their quarters. 


Herodotas, book VH f chaps. 218-228 

After the events narrated in the last selection, Herodotus goes 
on to tell the story of the sacrifice of Leonidas and his Spartans, 
hi a manner almost Homeric in its simple vividness. 

Now, as the king was in a great strait, and knew not 
how he should deal with the emergency, Ephialtes, the 


son of Eurydmus, a man of Mails, came to him and was 
admitted to a conference. Stirred by the hope of receiving 
a rich reward at the king's hands, he had come to tell Mm 
of the pathway which led across the mountain to Ther- 
mopylae; by which disclosure he brought destruction on 
the band of Greeks who had there withstood the barbarians. 
This Ephialtes afterwards, from fear of the Lacedaemonians, 
fled into Thessaly : [and a long time afterward, was killed 
in a private quarrel by an enemy]. . . . 

Great was the joy of Xerxes on this occasion ; and as he 
approved highly of the enterprise which Ephialtes under- 
took to accomplish, he forthwith sent upon the errand 
Hydarnes, and the Persians under him. 1 The troops left 
the camp about the time of the lighting of the lamps. 

The Persians took this path, and, crossing the As6pus, 
continued their march through the whole of the night, 
having the mountains of (Eta on their right hand, and on 
their left those of Trachis. At dawn of day they found 
themselves close to the summit. Now the hill was guarded, 
as I have already said, by a thousand Phocian men-at-arms, 
who were placed there to. defend the pathway, and at the 
same time to secure their own country. They had been 
given the guard of the mountain path, while the other 
Greeks defended the pass below, because they had volun- 
teered for the service, and had pledged themselves to Leoni- 
das to maintain the post. 

* [But alarmed by the Persians, and galled by their arrows, they 
retreated in cowardly fashion up the mountain slope, and left the 
path clear to Hydarnes.] 

The Greeks learn that the Pass is Turned 

The Greeks at Thermopylae received the first warning 
of the destruction which the dawn would bring on them 

iThe 10,000 "Immortals." 


from the seer Megistias, who read their fate in the victims 
as he was sacrificing. After this deserters came in, and 
brought the news that the Persians were marching round 
by the hills: it was still night when these men arrived. 
Last of all, the scouts came running down from the heights, 
and brought in the same accounts, when the day was just 
beginning to break. Then the Greeks held a council to 
consider what they should do, and here opinions were 
divided : some were strong against quitting their post, while 
others contended to the contrary. So when the council 
had broken up, part of the troops departed and went their 
ways homeward to their several states; part, however, 
resolved to remain, and to stand by Leonidas to the last. 

It is said that Leonidas himself sent away the troops 
who departed, because he tendered their safety, but thought 
it unseemly that either he or his Spartans should quit the 
post which they had been especially sent to guard. For 
my own part, I incline to think that Leonidas gave the 
order, because he perceived the allies to be out of heart 
and unwilling to encounter the danger to which his own 
mind was made up. He therefore commanded them to 
retreat, but said that he himself could not draw back with 
honor; knowing that, if he stayed, glory awaited him, 
and that Sparta in that case would not lose her prosperity. 
For when the Spartans, at the very beginning of the war, 
sent to consult the oracle concerning it, the answer which 
they received from the Pythoness was, " that either Sparta 
must be overthrown by the barbarians, or one of her kings 
must perish." 

So the allies, when Leonidas ordered them to retire, 
obeyed him and forthwith departed. Only the Thespians 
and the Thebans remained with the Spartans ; and of these 
the Thebans were kept back by Leonidas as hostages, very 
much against their will. The Thespians, on the. contrary, 
stayed entirely of their . own accord, refusing to retreat, 


and declaring that they would not forsake Leonidas and 
his followers. So they abode with the Spartans, and died 
with them Their leader was Demophilus, the son of 

How Leonidas made his Last Stand 

At sunrise Xerxes made libations, after which he waited 
until the time when the market is wont to fill, 1 and then 
began his advance. Ephialtes had instructed him thus, 
as the descent of the mountain is much quicker, and the 
distance much shorter, than the way round the hills, and 
the ascent. So the barbarians under Xerxes began to draw 
nigh; and the Greeks under Leonidas, as they now went 
north determined to die, advanced much farther than on 
previous days, until they reached the more open portion 
of the pass. Hitherto they had held their station within 
the wall, and from this had gone forth to fight at the point 
where the pass was the narrowest. Now they joined battle 
beyond the defile, and carried slaughter among the bar- 
barians, who fell in heaps. Behind them the captains of 
the squadrons, armed with whips, urged their men forward 
with continual blows. Many were thrust into the sea, and 
there perished; a still greater number were trampled to 
death by their own soldiers; no one heeded the dying. 
For the Greeks, reckless of their own safety and desperate, 
since they knew that, as the mountain had been crossed, 
their destruction was nigh at hand, exerted themselves with 
the most furious valor against the barbarians. 

By this time the spears of the greater number were all 
shivered, and with their swords they hewed down the ranks 
of the Persians; and here, as they strove, Leonidas fell 
fighting bravely, together with many other famous Spartans. 
There fell, too, at the same time very many famous Persians : 

1 literally this would be translated " at the time of full market," which 
was the common expression among the Greeks to denote about 10.30 A.M. 


among them, two sons of Darius, Abrocomes and Hyper- 
anthes, his children by Phratagun^, the daughter of Artanes. 

And now there arose a fierce struggle between the Per- 
sians and the Lacedaemonians over the body of Leonidas, in 
which the Greeks four times drove back the enemy, and at 
last by their great bravery succeeded in bearing off the 
body. This combat was scarcely ended when the Persians 
with Ephialtes approached ; and the Greeks, informed that 
they drew nigh, made a change in the manner of their fight- 
ing. Drawing back into the narrowest part of the pass, and 
retreating even behind the cross wall, they posted them- 
selves upon a hillock, where they stood all drawn up to- 
gether in one close body, except only the Thebans. The 
hillock whereof I speak is at the entrance of the straits, 
where the stone lion stands which was set up in honor of 

Here they defended themselves to the last, such as still 
had swords using them, and the others resisting with their 
hands and teeth ; till the barbarians, who in part had pulled 
down the wall and attacked them in front, in part had gone 
round and now encircled them upon every side, overwhelmed 
and buried the remnant which was left beneath showers of 
missile weapons. 

Thus nobly did the whole body of Lacedaemonians and 
Thespians behave ; but nevertheless one man is said to have 
distinguished himself above all the rest, to wit, Dineces the 
Spartan. A speech which he made before the Greeks en- 
gaged the Medes, remains on record. One of the Trachini- 
ans told him, "Such was the number of the barbarians, 
that when they shot forth their arrows the sun would be 
darkened by their multitude." Dineces, not at all fright- 
ened at these words, but making light of the Median num- 
bers, answered : " Our Trachinian friend brings us excellent 
tidings. If the Medes darken the sun, we shall have our fight 
in the shade." . . . 


[After the war had ended and the Hellenes had proved 
victorious,] the slain were buried where they fell ; and in 
their honor, nor less in honor of those who died -before 
Leonidas sent the allies away, an inscription was set up, 
which said: 

** Here did four thousand men from Pelops* land 
Against three hundred myriads bravely stand." 

This was in honor of all. Another was for the Spartans 
alone : 

" Go, stranger, and to Lacedaemon tell 
That here, obeying her behests, we fell." 


Herodotus, book Vm, chaps. 40-43 

In a very few days after the forcing of Thermopylae and the 
flight of the Greek ships from Euboea, the Athenians completed 
this evacuation of Attica, before the Persians could enter the coun- 
try. Probably a population of at least 250,000 had to be moved ; 
and the whole process seems to have been conducted with remark- 
able skill and celerity. It called for a marvelous spirit of devo- 
tion and patriotism to be able thus to forsake farmsteads, city 
homes, temples, and a vast quantity of non-movable property, and 
go forth homeless, and not knowing whether they might ever re- 
turn. Yet there seems to have been almost no suggestion of 

Meanwhile, the Grecian fleet, which had left Artemisiuni, 
proceeded to Salamis, at the request of the Athenians, and 
there cast anchor. The Athenians had begged them to take 
up this position, in order that they might convey their 
women and children out of Attica, and further might delib- 
erate upon the course which it now behoved them to follow. 
Disappointed in the hopes which they had previously enter- 
tained, they were about to hold a council concerning the 


present posture of their affairs. For they had looked to see 
the Peloponnesians drawn up in full force to resist the 
enemy in Boeotia, but found nothing of what they had ex- 
pected; nay, they learnt that the Greeks of those parts, 
only concerning themselves about their own safety, were 
building a wall across the Isthmus, and intended to guard 
the Peloponnesus, and let the rest of Greece take its chance. 
These tidings caused them to make the request whereof I 
spoke, that the combined fleet should anchor at Salamis. 

So while the rest of the fleet lay to off this island, the 
Athenians cast anchor along their own coast Immediately 
upon their arrival, proclamation was made, that every Athe- 
nian should save his children and household as he best 
cbuld ; whereupon some sent their families to JEgina, some 
to Salamis, but the greater number to Troezen. This re- 
moval was made with all possible haste, partly from a desire 
to obey the advice of the oracle, but still more for another 
reason. The Athenians say that they have in their Acropo- 
lis a huge serpent, which lives in the temple, and is the 
guardian of the whole place. Nor do they only say this, 
but, as if the serpent really dwelt there, every month they 
lay out its food, which consists of a honey cake. Up to 
this time the honey cake had always been consumed ; but 
now it remained untouched. So the priestess told the 
people what had happened; whereupon they left Athens 
the more readily, since they believed that the goddess had 
already abandoned the citadel. As soon as all was removed, 
the Athenians sailed back to their station. 

And now, the remainder of the Grecian sea force, hearing 
that the fleet which had been at Arteinisium,.was come to 
Salamis, joined it at that island from Troezen orders hav- 
ing been issued previously that the ships should muster at 
P6gon, the port of the Troszenians. The vessels collected 
were many more in number than those which had fought 
at Artemisium, and were furnished by more cities. The 


admiral was the same who had commanded before, to wit, 
Eurybiades, the son of Eurycleides, who was a Spartan, but 
not of the family of the kings : the city, however, which 
sent by far the greatest number of ships, and the best sail- 
ors, was Athens. 

[In all there were 378 triremes; whereof Athens sent 
180 ; and the Spartans, though supplying the chief admiral, 
sent only 16.] 


Herodotus, book Yin, chaps. 49-82 

The story of how Themistocles forced his reluctant allies to fight 
at Salamis will remain forever as the classic example of worldly 
cunning successfully applied. In Themistocles we seem to see 
again an incarnation of Odysseus, the typically Hellenic " hero of 
many devices," surpassing in plot and guile. By his message to 
the Persian admirals he brought on the battle which saved Hellas : 
yet in one sense the crowning part of his action was that if the 
Persians had been victorious he could have actually claimed their 
favor, as having made Xerxes* triumph possible. 

When the captains from the various nations were come 
together at Salamis, a council of war was summoned ; and 
Eurybiades proposed that any one who liked to advise, should 
say which place seemed to him the fittest, among those still 
in the possession of the Greeks, to be the scene of a naval 
combat. Attica, he said, was not to be thought of now; but 
he desired their counsel as to the remainder. The speakers 
mostly advised that the fleet should sail away to the Isth- 
mus, and there give battle in defense of the Peloponnesus ; 
and they urged as a reason for this, that if they were worsted 
in a sea fight at Salamis, they would be shut up in an island 
where they could get no help ; but if they were beaten near 
the Isthmus, they could escape to their homes. 


As the captains from the Peloponnesus were thus advis- 
ing, there came an Athenian to the camp, who brought word 
that the barbarians had entered Attica, and were ravaging 
and burning everything. . . . 

[The Greek admirals remained at Salamis until the Acrop- 
olis was taken, then they] no sooner heard what had befallen 
the Athenian citadel, than they fell into such alarm that 
some of the captains did not even wait for the council to 
come to a vote, but embarked hastily on board their vessels, 
and hoisted sail as though they would take to flight imme- 
diately. The rest, who stayed at the council board, came 
to a vote that the fleet should give battle at the Isthmus. 
Night now drew on ; and the captains, dispersing from the 
meeting, proceeded on board their respective ships. 

[On returning to his own vessel, however, Themistocles was met 
by a friend, who urged him at all hazards to induce Burybiades, 
the Spartan high admiral, to fight ; otherwise the Greek fleet would 
soon disperse, and all the national cause be lost.] 

The suggestion greatly pleased Themistocles ; and with- 
out answering a word, he went straight to the vessel of Eury- 
biades. Arrived there, he let him know that he wanted to 
speak with him on a matter touching the public service. So 
Eurybiades bade him come on board, and say whatever he 
wished. Then Themistocles, seating himself at his side, went 
over all the arguments [in favor of fighting at Salamis]. At 
last he persuaded Eurybiades, by his importunity, again to 
collect the captains to council. 

The Arguments before the Spartan Admiral 

As soon as they were come, and before Eurybiades had 
opened to them his purpose in assembling them together, 
Themistocles, as men are wont to do when they are very 
anxious, spoke much to divers of them ; whereupon the Co- 
rinthian captain, Adeimantus, the son of Ocytus, observed 


" Themistocles, at the games they who start too soon are 
scourged" True," rejoined the other in his excuse, " but 
they who wait too late are not. crowned." 

Thus he gave the Corinthian at this time a mild answer; 
and towards Eurybiades himself he did not now use any of 
those arguments which he had urged' before, or say aught of 
the allies betaking themselves to flight if once they broke 
up from Salamis ; it would have been ungraceful for him, 
when the confederates were present, to make accusation 
against any : but he had recourse to quite a new sort of rea- 
soning, and addressed him as follows : 

" With it rests, Eurybiades ! to save Greece, if thou 
wilt only hearken unto me, and give the enemy battle here, 
rather than yield to the advice of those among us, who would 
have the fleet withdrawn to the Isthmus. Hear now, I be- 
seech thee, and judge between the two courses. At the Isth- 
mus thou wilt fight in an open sea, which is greatly to our 
disadvantage, since our ships are heavier and fewer in num- 
ber than the enemy's ; and further, thou wilt in an}' case 
lose Salamis, Megara, and JEgina, even if all the rest goes 
well with us. The land and sea force of the Persians will 
advance together; and thy retreat will but draw them 
towards the Peloponnesus, and so bring all Greece into 
peril. , , . 

[Whereas at Salamis in the narrow straits the Greeks would be 
able to use their few ships to great advantage : and if the Greeks 
were victorious they would have forsaken no more territory to the 

When men counsel reasonably, reasonable success ensues; 
but when in their counsels they reject reason, God does not 
choose to follow the wanderings of human fancies." 

When Themistocles had thus spoken, Adeimantus the Co- 
rinthian again attacked him, and bade him be silent, since 
he was a man without a city ; at the same time he called on 


Eurybiades not to put the question at the instance of one 
who had no country, and urged that Themistocles should 
show of what state he was envoy, before he gave his voice 
with the rest. This reproach he made, because the city of 
Athens had been taken, and was in the hands of the barba- 
rians. Hereupon Th&mistocles spake many bitter things 
against Adeimantus and the Corinthians generally ; and for 
proof that he had a country, reminded the captains, that 
with two hundred ships l at his command, all fully manned 
for battle, he had both city and territory as good as theirs ; 
since there was no Grecian state which could resist his men 
if they were to make a descent. 

After this declaration, he turned to Eurybiades, and ad- 
dressing him with still greater warmth and earnestness 
" If thou wilt stay here," he said, i( and behave like a brave 
man, all will be well if not, thou wilt bring Greece to 
ruin. For the whole fortune of the war depends on our 
ships. Be thou persuaded by niy words. If not, we will 
take our families on board, and go, just as we are, to Siris, 
in Italy, which is ours from of old, and which the prophecies 
declare we are to colonize some day or other. You then, 
when you have lost allies like us, will hereafter call to mind 
what I have now said." 

At these words of Themistocles, Eurybiades changed his 
determination ; principally, as I believe, because he feared 
that if he withdrew the fleet to the Isthmus, the Athenians 
would sail away, and knew that without the Athenians, 
the rest of their ships could be no match for the fleet of the 
enemy. He therefore decided to remain, and give battle at 

And now, the different chiefs, notwithstanding their 

skirmish of words, on learning the decision of Eurybiades, 

at once made ready for the fight. Morning broke ; and, 

just as the sun rose, the shock of an earthquake was felt 

l This would imply about 40,000 men. 


both on shore and at sea : whereupon the Greeks resolved 
to approach the gods with prayer, and likewise to send and 
invite the JEacids to their aid. And this they did, with as 
much speed as they had resolved on it. Prayers were 
offered to all the gods ; and Telamon and Ajax were invoked 
at once from Salainis, while a ship was sent to JEgina, to 
JSacus himself, and the other JEacids. 1 

[Meantime in Xerxes' council of war the general vote had been 
to meet the Greek fleet in battle, although Artemisia, queen of 
Halicarnassus, expressed doubts as to the result. The Persians 
spent the night preparing most confidently for the battle, while 
the Greeks were in keen distress and alarm, especially the 
Peloponnesians. So little confidence was there in their fleet, that 
the Peloponnesians were striving desperately to build a wall across 
the Isthmus at Corinth to halt the further advance of the Barba- 

So the Greeks at the Isthmus toiled unceasingly, as 
though in the greatest peril; since they never imagined 
that any great success would be gained by the fleet. The 
Greeks at Salamis, on the other hand, when they heard 
what the rest were about, felt greatly alarmed ; but their 
fear was not so much for themselves as for the Peloponnesus. 
At first they conversed together in low tones, each man with 
his fellow, secretly, and marveled at the folly shown by 
Eurybiades ; but presently the smothered feeling broke out, 
and another assembly was held ; whereat the old subjects 
provoked much talk from the speakers, one side maintaining 
that it was best to sail to the Peloponnesus and risk battle 
for that, instead of abiding at Salamis and fighting for a 
land already taken by the enemy; while the other, which 
consisted of the Athenians, JLginetans, and Megarians, was 
urgent to remain and have the battle fought where they 

iThe most famous of this line of mythical heroes was Achilles. 


TJiemistocles's Message to the Persians 

Then Themistocles, when he saw that the Peloponnesians 
would carry the vote against him, went out secretly from 
the council, and, instructing a certain man what he should 
say, sent him on board a merchant ship to the fleet of the 
Medes. The man's name was Sicinnus ; he was one of 
Themistocles' s household slaves, and acted as tutor to his 
sons; in after times, when the Thespians were admitting 
persons to citizenship Themistocles made him a Thespian, 
and a rich man to boot. The ship brought Sicinnus to the 
Persian fleet, and there he delivered his message to the 
leaders in these words : 

" The Athenian commander has sent me to you privily, 
without the knowledge of the other Greeks. He is a well- 
wisher to the king's cause, and would rather success should 
attend on you than on his countrymen ; wherefore he bids 
me to tell you that fear has seized the Greeks and they are 
meditating a hasty flight. Now then it is open to you to 
achieve the best work that ever ye wrought, if only ye will 
hinder their escaping. They no longer agree among them- 
selves, so that they will not now make any resistance nay, 
'tis likely ye may see a fight already begun between such as 
favor and such as oppose your cause." The messenger, when 
he had thus expressed himself, departed and was seen no 

Then the captains, believing all that the messenger had 
said, proceeded to land a large body of Persian troops on the 
islet of Psyttaleia, which lies between Salamis and the 
mainland ; after which, about the hour of midnight, they 
advanced their western wing towards Salamis, so as to in- 
close the Greeks. At the same time the force stationed 
about Ceos and Cynosura moved forward, and filled the 
whole strait as far as Munychia with their ships. This 
advance was made to prevent the Greeks from escaping by 


flight, and to block them up in Salamis, where it was thought 
that vengeance might be taken upon them for the battles 
fought near Artemisiurn. The Persian troops were landed 
on the islet of Psyttaleia, because, as soon as the battle 
began, the men and wrecks were likely to be drifted thither, 
as the isle lay in the very path of the coming fight, and 
they would thus be able to save their own men and destroy 
those of the enemy. All these movements were made in 
silence, that the Greeks might have no knowledge of them ; 
and they occupied the whole night, so that the men had no 
time to get their sleep. 

The Greek Captains learn that tliey are Entrapped 

Meanwhile, among the captains at Salamis, the strife of 
words grew fierce. As yet they did not know that they were 
encompassed, but imagined that the barbarians remained in 
the same places where they had seen them the day before. 

In the midst of their contention, Aristides, the son of 
Lysimachus, who had crossed from ^Egina, arrived in 
Salamis. He was an Athenian, and had been ostracized by 
the commonalty; yet I believe, from what I have heard 
concerning his character, that there was not in all Athens 
a man so worthy or so just as he. He now came to the 
council, and, standing outside, called for Themistocles. 
Now Themistocles was not his friend, but his most deter- 
mined enemy. However, under the pressure of the great 
dangers impending, Aristides forgot their feud, and called 
Themistocles out of the council, since he wished to confer 
with him. He had heard before his arrival of the impar 
tience of the Peloponnesians to withdraw the fleet to the 
Isthmus. As soon therefore as Themistocles came forth, 
Aristides addressed him in these words : 

" Our rivalry at all times, and especially at the present 
season, ought to be a struggle, which of us shall most ad- 
vantage our country. Let me then say to thee, that so far 


as regards the departure of tlie Peloponnesians from this 
place, much talk and little will be found precisely alike. I 
have seen with my own eyes that which I now report : that, 
however much the Corinthians or Eurybiades himself may 
wish it, they cannot now retreat; for we are inclosed on 
every side by the enemy. Go in to them, and make this 

" Thy advice is excellent," answered the other ; " and 
thy tidings are also good. That which I earnestly desired 
to happen, thine eyes have beheld accomplished. Know 
that what the Medes have now done was at my instance ; 
for it was necessary, as our men would not fight here of their 
own free will, to make them fight whether they would or 
no. But come now, as thou hast brought the good news, 
go in and tell it. For if I speak to them, they will think it 
a feigned tale, and will not believe that the barbarians have 
inclosed us around. Therefore do thou go to them, and 
inform them how matters stand. If they believe thee, 
'twill be for the best ; but if otherwise, it will not harm. 
For it is impossible that they should now flee away, if we 
are indeed shut in on all sides, as thou sayest." 

Than Aristides entered the assembly, and spoke to the 
captains : he had come, he told them, from JSgina, and had 
but barely escaped the blockading vessels the Greek fleet 
was entirely inclosed by the ships of Xerxes and he 
advised them to get themselves in readiness to resist the 
foe. Having said so much, he withdrew. And now another 
contest arose ; for the greater part of the captains would 
not believe the tidings. 

But while they still doubted, a Tenian trireme, com- 
manded by Panaetius the son of Sdsimenes, deserted from 
the Persians and joined the Greeks, bringing full intelligence. 
For this reason the Tenians were inscribed upon the tripod 
at Delphi among those who overthrew the barbarians. 
With this ship, which deserted to their side at Salamis, and 


the Lemnian vessel which came over before at Artemisium, 
the Greek fleet was brought to the full number of 380 
ships ; otherwise it fell short by two of that amount. 


Herodotus, book Vm, chaps. 83 ff. 

The date of the battle of Salamis is set by modern writers at 
about the 20th of September, 480 B.C. Although the Phoenician 
sailors in the Persian armada were excellent naval fighters, prob- 
ably the rest of the crews were inferior; and very few native 
Persians could have been on board the ships saving perhaps 
the admirals and their suites. The Greeks fought as desperate 
men at bay, with their all at stake. The wind, the position, the 
handier build of their vessels, everything, in short, favored 
them. The result could not have been very long doubtful. 

The Greeks not doubting at last what they had been told, 
made ready to fight. At dawn all the marines * were as- 
sembled, and speeches made to them. Of these the best 
was by Themistocles : who throughout contrasted things 
noble and things base, and bade them, so far as lay in 
human powers, always to choose the nobler part. Thus 
winding up his discourse, he bade them board their ships, 
and so they did. 

Scarce had the fleet quitted the land when they were at- 
tacked by the barbarians. At once most of the Greeks be- 
gan to backwater, and were about touching the shore, when 
Ameinias of Pall6n, 2 one of the Athenian captains, darted 
forth in front of the line, and charged a ship of the enemy. 
The two vessels became entangled, and could not separate, 
whereupon the rest of the fleet came up to help Ameinias, 
and engaged with the Persians. Such is the account which 
the Athenians give of the way in which the battle began; 
but the JSginetans maintain that the vessel which had been 

1 The heavy infantry serving on each trireme. 

2 PallSne* was one of the most famous of the Athenian country towns. 


to JEgina for the JEacidse, was the one that brought on the 
fight. It is also reported that a phantom in the form of a 
wom an appeared to the Greeks, and, in a voice that was 
heard from end to end of the fleet, cheered them on to the 
fight ; first, however, rebuking them, and saying " Strange 
men, how long are ye going to backwater ? " 

Hoto the Battle was Joined 

Against the Athenians, who held the western extremity 
of the line towards Eleusis, were placed the Phoenicians; 
against the Lacedaemonians, whose station was eastward 
towards the Piraeus, 1 the lonians. Of these last a few only 
followed the advice of Themistocles, to fight backwardly ; 
the greater number did far otherwise : and I could mention 
here the names of many trierarchs who took vessels from 
the Greeks. 

Far the greater number of the Persian ships engaged in 
this battle were disabled, either by the Athenians or by the 
JEginetans. For as the Greeks fought in order and kept 
their line, while the barbarians were in confusion and had 
no plan in anything that they did, the issue of the battle 
could scarce be other than it was. Yet the Persians fought 
far more bravely here than at Euboea, and indeed surpassed 
themselves; each did his utmost through fear of Xerxes, 
for each thought that the king's eye was upon himself. 2 

What part the several nations, whether Greek or bar- 
barian, took in the combat, I am not able to say for certain ; 
Artemisia, however, I know, distinguished herself in such a 
way as raised her even higher than she stood before in the 
esteem of the king. For after confusion had spread through- 
out the whole of the king's fleet, and her ship was closely 
pursued by an Athenian trireme, she, having no way to fly, 

1 The harbor of Athens. 

2 The anger of Xerxes led to very serious consequences; compare 
page 188. 


since in front of her were a number of friendly vessels, and 
she was nearest of all the Persians to the enemy, resolved 
on a measure which in fact proved her safety. Pressed by 
the Athenian pursuer, she bore straight against one of the 
ships of her own party, a Calyndian, which had Darnasithy- 
mus, the Calyndian king, himself on board. I cannot say 
whether she had had any quarrel with the man while the 
fleet was at the Hellespont, or no, neither can I decide 
whether she of set purpose attacked his vessel, or whether 
it merely chanced that the Calyndian ship came in her way, 
but certain it is that she bore down upon his vessel and 
sank it, and that thereby she had the good fortune to procure 
herself a double advantage. For the commander of the 
Athenian trireme, when he saw her bear down on one of 
the enemy's fleet, thought immediately that her vessel was 
a Greek, or else had deserted from the Persians, and was 
now fighting on the Greek side ; he therefore gave up the 
chase, and turned away to attack others. 

Thus in the first place she saved her life by the action, 
and was enabled to get clear off from the battle; while 
further, it fell out that in the very act of doing the king an 
injury she raised herself to a greater height than ever in his 
esteem. For as Xerxes beheld the fight, he remarked (it is 
said) the destruction of the vessel, whereupon the bystanders 
observed to him " Seest thou, master, how well Artemisia 
fights, and how she has just sunk a ship of the enemy ? " 
Then Xerxes asked if it were really Artemisia's doing ; and 
they answered, "Certainly; for they knew her ensign": 
while all made sure that the sunken vessel belonged to the 
opposite side. Everything, it is said, conspired to prosper 
the queen it was especially fortunate for her that not one 
of those on board the Calyndian ship survived to become her 
accuser. Xerxes, they say, in reply to the remarks made 
to him, observed "My men have behaved like women, my 
women like men !" 


Incidents of the Persian Disaster 

There fell in this combat Ariabignes, one of the chief 
commanders of the fleet, who was son of Darius and brother 
of Xerxes ; and with .him perished a vast number of men of 
high repute, Persians, Medes, and allies. Of the Greeks 
there died only a few; for, as they were able to swim, all 
those that were not slain outright by the enemy escaped 
from the sinking vessels and swam across to Salamis. But 
on the side of the barbarians more perished by drowning 
than in any other way, since they did not know how to 
swim. The great destruction took place when the ships 
which had been first engaged began to fly; for they who 
were stationed in the rear, anxious to display their valor 
before the eyes of the king, made every effort to force their 
way to the front, and thus became entangled with such of 
their own vessels as were retreating. 

In this confusion the following event occurred : Certain 
Phoenicians belonging to the ships which had thus perished 
made their appearance before the king, and laid the blame 
of their loss on the lonians, declaring that they were traitors, 
and had willfully destroyed the vessels. But the upshot of 
this complaint was, that the Ionian captains escaped the 
death which threatened them, while their Phoenician accusers 
received death as their reward. For it happened that, 
exactly as they spoke, a Samothracian vessel bore down on 
an Athenian and sank it, but was attacked and crippled 
immediately by one of the ^Eginetan squadron. Now the 
Sarnothracians were expert with the javelin, and aimed their 
weapons so well, that they cleared the deck of the vessel 
which had disabled their own, after which they sprang on 
board, and took it. This saved the lonians. Xerxes, when 
he saw the exploit, turned fiercely on the Phoenicians (he 
was ready, in his extreme vexation, to find fault with any 
one) and ordered their heads to be cut off, to prevent 


them, he said, from casting the blame of their own miscon- 
duct upon braver men. During the whole time of the battle 
Xerxes sate at the base of the hill called JEgaleSs, over 
against Salamis; and whenever he saw any of his own 
captains perform any worthy exploit he inquired concerning 
him ; and the man's name was taken down by his scribes, 
together with the names of his father and his city. 

When the rout of the barbarians began, and they sought 
to make their escape to Phalrum, the JSginetans, awaiting 
them in the channel, performed exploits worthy to be re- 
corded. Through the whole of the confused struggle the 
Athenians employed themselves in destroying such ships as 
either made resistance or fled to shore, while the ^Eginetans 
dealt with those which endeavored to escape down the 
strait ; so that the Persian vessels were no sooner clear of 
the Athenians than forthwith they fell into the hands of the 
JEginetan squadron. Such of the barbarian vessels as es- 
caped from the battle fled to Phalrum, and there sheltered 
themselves under the protection of the land army. 

The Greeks who gained the greatest glory of all in the 
sea fight off Salaniis were the JBginetans, and after them 
the Athenians. The individuals of most distinction were 
Polycritus the JSginetan, and two Athenians, Eumenes of 
Anagyrus, and Anieinias of PallSne ; the latter of whom had 
pressed Artemisia so hard. And assuredly, if he had known 
that the vessel carried Artemisia on board, he would never 
have given over the chase till he had either succeeded in 
taking her, or else been taken himself. For the Athenian 
captains had received special orders touching the queen ; 
and moreover a reward of ten thousand drachmas l had been 
proclaimed for any one wjao should make her prisoner; 
since there was great indignation felt that a woman should 
appear in arms against Athens. However, as I said before, 
she escaped ; and so did some others whose ships survived 
i About $1800. 


the engagement ; and these were all now assembled at the 
port of Phalgrum. 

In the midst of the confusion Aristides, son of Lysirna- 
chus, the Athenian, of whom I lately spoke as a man of the 
greatest excellence, performed the following service. He 
took a number of the Athenian heavy-armed troops, who 
had previously been stationed along the shore of Salamis, 
and, landing with them on the islet of Psyttaleia, slew all 
the Persians by whom it was occupied. 


Herodotus, took VEH, chap. 143 

After the triumph at Salamis the spirit of the Athenians rose 
higher than ever, as is evinced by the following. 

The Athenians returned this answer to Alexander [king 
of Macedon, who was acting as the Persian emissary, and 
who had urged submission on very favorable terms] : 

We know, as well as thou dost, that the power of the 
Mede is many times greater than our own : we did not need 
to have that cast in our teeth. Nevertheless, we cling so to 
freedom that we shall offer what resistance we may. Seek 
not to persuade us into making terms with the barbarian 
say what thou wilt, thou wilt never gain our assent. Eeturn 
rather at once, and tell Mardonius that our answer to him is 
this : So long as the sun keeps his present course, we will 
never join alliance with Xerxes. Nay, we shall oppose him 
unceasingly, trusting in the aid of those gods and heroes 
whom he has lightly esteemed, whose houses and whose 
images he has burnt with fire/ And come not thou again 
to us with words like these ; nor, thinking to do us a service, 
persuade us to unholy actions." 



Herodotus, book IX, chaps. 52-70 

The battle of Plataea (479 B.C.) was won by the Lacedaemonian 
and Athenian hoplites practically alone, without the aid of the very 
motley host of allies from the smaller states. The difficulty seems 
to have been to induce Mardonius to fight on ground favorable for 
the evolutions of the Greek heavy infantry. He had been pursuing 
a harassing policy, using his superior cavalry to cut off the Greeks' 
supplies, and retreating within his fortified camp. To change this, 
Pausanias and his allies resolved to retreat to the hills ; but the 
movement was delayed in the night, and morning found the Greek 
army scattered dangerouslv over the plain. It was then Mardonius 
committed his blunder of underestimating the fighting power of the 
Spartan and Athenian infantry alone, and hastened out to attack 
them. Never was the Spartan discipline better vindicated than in 
the spear-press at Platsea. 

Having made these resolves, they continued during that 
whole day to suffer beyond measure from the attacks of the 
Persian horse. At length when towards dusk the attacks of 
the horse ceased, and, night having closed in, the hour arrived 
at which the army was to commence its retreat, the greater 
number struck their tents and began the march towards the 
rear. They were not minded, however, to make for the place 
agreed upon ; but in their anxiety to escape from the Persian 
horse, no sooner had they begun to move than they fled 
straight to Plataea, where they took post at the temple of 
Hera, which lies outside the city, at the distance of about 
twenty furlongs from Gargaphia; and here they pitched 
their camp in front of the sacred building. 

As soon as Pausanias saw a portion of the troops in motion, 
he issued orders to the Lacedaemonians to strike their tents 
and follow those who had been the first to depart, supposing 
that they were on their march to the place agreed upon. All 
the captains but one were ready to obey his orders : Amom- 


pharetus, however, the son of Poliadas, who was leader of 
the Pitanate cohort, refused to move, saying, " He for one 
would not fly from the strangers, or of his own will bring dis- 
grace upon Sparta." It had happened that he was absent from 
the former conference of the captains ; and so what was now 
taking place astonished him. Pausanias and Euryanax 
thought it a monstrous thing that Ainompharetus would not 
hearken to them ; but considered that it would be yet more 
monstrous, if, when he was so minded, they were to leave 
the Pitanates to their fate ; seeing that, if they forsook them 
to keep their agreement with the other Greeks, Ainompha- 
retus and those with him might perish. On this account, 
therefore, they kept the Lacedaemonian force in its place, 
and made every endeavor to persuade Amompharetus that he 
was wrong to act as he was doing. 

The, Athenians halt on the March 

While the Spartans were engaged in these efforts to turn 
Amompharetus the only man unwilling to retreat either in 
their own army or in that of the Tegeans the Athenians on 
their side did as follows. Knowing that it was the Spartan, 
temper to say one thing and do another, they remained quiet 
in their station until the army began to retreat, when they 
dispatched a horseman to see whether the Spartans really 
meant to set forth, or whether after all they had no intention, 
of moving. The horseman was also to ask Pausanias what 
he wished the Athenians to do. 

The herald on his arrival found the Lacedaemonians 
drawn up in their old position, and their leaders quarreling 
with one another. Pausanias and Euryanax had gone on 
urging Amompharetus not to endanger the lives of his men 
by staying behind while the others drew off, but without 
succeeding in persuading him ; until at l?t the dispute had 
waxed hot between them just at the moment when the 
Athenian herald arrived* At this point Amompharetus, 


who was still disputing, took up with both his hands a vast 
rock, and placed it at the feet of Pausanias, saying " With 
this pebble I give nay vote not to run away from the stran- 
gers." [By " strangers " he meant barbarians.] Pausanias, 
in reply, called him a fool and a madman, and, turning to 
the Athenian herald, who had made the inquiries with which 
he was charged, bade him tell his countrymen how he was 
occupied, and ask them to approach nearer, and retreat or 
not according to the movements of the Spartans. 

Pausanias at last falls Back 

So the herald went back to the Athenians ; and the Spartans 
continued to dispute till morning began to dawn upon them. 
Then Pausanias, who as yet had not moved, gave the signal 
for retreat expecting (and rightly, as the event proved) 
that Amompharetus, when he saw the rest of the Lacedserno 
nians in motion, would be unwilling to be left behind. No 
sooner was the signal given than all the army except the 
Pitanates began their march, and retreated along the line of 
the hills, the Tegeans accompanying them. The Athenians 
likewise set off in good order, but proceeded by a different 
way from the Lacedaemonians. For while the latter clung 
to the hilly ground and the skirts of Mount Cithseron, on ac- 
count of the fear which they entertained of the enemy's horse, 
the former betook themselves to the low country and marched 
through the plain. 

As for Amompharetus, at first he diet not believe that 
Pausanias would really dare to leave him behind ; he there- 
fore remained firm in his resolve to keep his men at their 
post ; when, however, Pausanias and his troops were now 
some way off, Amompharetus, thinking himself forsaken in 
good earnest, ordered his band to take their arms, and led 
them at a walk towards the main army. Now the army 
was waiting for them at a distance of about ten furlongs, 
having halted upon the river Moloies at a place called Agri- 


opius, where stands a temple of the Eleusinian Demetei. 
They had stopped here, that, in case Amompharetus and his 
band should refuse to quit the spot where they were drawn 
up, and should really not stir from it, they might have it 
in their power to move back and lend them assistance. 
Amompharetus, however, and his companions rejoined the 
main body ; and at the same time the whole mass of the 
barbarian cavalry arrived and began to press hard upon 
them. The horsemen had followed their usual practice and 
ridden up to the Greek camp, when they discovered that 
the place where the Greeks had been posted hitherto was 
deserted. Hereupon they pushed forward without stopping, 
and, as soon as they overtook the enemy, pressed heavily 
on them. 

Mardonius falls on the Spartans 

Mardonius, when he heard that the Greeks had retired 
under cover of the night, and beheld the place where they 
had been stationed, empty, crossed the Asdpus, and led the 
Persians forward at a run directly upon the track of the 
Greeks, whom he believed to be in actual flight. He could 
not see the Athenians ; for as they had taken the way of 
the plain, they were hidden from his sight by the hills ; he 
therefore led on his troops against the Lacedaemonians and 
the Tegeans only. When the commanders of the other 
divisions of the barbarians saw the Persians pursuing the 
Greeks so hastily, they all forthwith seized their standards, 
and hurried after at their best speed in great disorder and 
disarray. On they went with loud shouts and in a wild 
rout, thinking to swallow up the runaways. 

Meanwhile Pausanias had sent a horseman to the Athe- 
nians, at the time when the cavalry first fell upon him, 
[begging for their immediate help since the other allied 
Greeks were far to the rear]. 

The Athenians, as soon as they received this message. 


were anxious to go to the aid of the Spartans, and to help 
them to the uttermost of their power; but, as they were 
upon the march, the Greeks on the king's side, whose place 
in the line had been opposite theirs, fell upon them, and so 
harassed them by their attacks that it was not possible for 
them to give the succor they desired. Accordingly the 
Lacedaemonians, and the Tegeans whom nothing could 
induce to quit their side were left alone to resist the 
Persians. Including the light-armed, the number of the 
former was 50,000,* while that of the Tegeans was 3000. 
Now, therefore, as they were about to engage with Mardo- 
nius and the troops under him, they made ready to offer 
sacrifice. The victims, however, for some time were not 
favorable ; and, during the delay, many fell on the Spartan 
side, and a still greater number were wounded. For the 
Persians had made a rampart of their wicker shields, and 
shot from behind them such clouds of arrows that the Spar- 
tans were sorely distressed. The victims continued unpro- 
pitious ; till at last Pausanias raised his eyes to the Heraeum 
of the Plataeans, and calling the goddess to his aid, besought 
her not to disappoint the hopes of the Greeks. 

Pausanias overthrows the Persians 

As he offered his prayer, the Tegeans, advancing before 
the rest, rushed forward against the enemy ; and the Lace- 
daemonians, who had obtained favorable omens the moment 
that Pausanias prayed, at length, after their long delay, ad- 
vanced to the attack 5 while the Persians, on their side, left 
shooting, and prepared to meet them. And first the combat 
was at the wicker shields. Afterwards, when these were 

1 If we accept the estimates given elsewhere in Herodotus, the bulk of 
the Spartan force was made up of the light-armed Helots of very little 
value in actual battle. Pausanias seems to have had only 10,000 Lacedae- 
monian hoplites behind him in this last desperate grapple for the life or 
death of Hellas. 


swept down, a fierce contest took place by the side of the 
temple of Demeter, which lasted long, and ended in a hand- 
to-hand struggle. The barbarians many times seized hold 
of the Greek spears and brake them 5 for in boldness and 
warlike spirit the Persians were not a whit inferior to the 
Greeks; but they were without bucklers, untrained, and 
far below the enemy in respect of skill in arms. Sometimes 
singly, sometimes in bodies of ten, now fewer and now more 
in number, they dashed forward upon the Spartan ranks, 
and so perished. 

The fight went most against the Greeks, where Mardo- 
nius, mounted upon a white horse, and surrounded by the 
bravest of all the Persians, the thousand picked men, fought 
in person. So long as Mardonius was alive, this body re- 
sisted all attacks, and, while they defended their own lives, 
struck down no small number of Spartans ; but after Mar- 
donius fell, and the troops with him, which were the main 
strength of the army, perished, the remainder yielded to 
the Lacedaemonians, and took to flight. Their light cloth- 
ing, and want of bucklers, were of the greatest hurt to 
them; for they had to contend against men heavily 
armed, while they themselves were without any such 

Then did Pausanias, the son of Cleombrotus, and grand- 
son of Anaxanclridas (I omit to recount his other ancestors, 
since they are the same with those of Leonidas), win a 
victory exceeding in glory all those to which our knowledge 

The Persians, as soon as they were put to flight by the 
Lacedaemonians, ran hastily away, without preserving any 
order, and took refuge in their own camp, within the wooden 
defense which they had raised in the Theban territory. 

[The Persian rear guard under Artabazus never came into ac- 
tion at all, but saved itself by a precipitate retreat to the Helles- 
pont and Asia.] 


As for the Greeks upon the king's side, while most of 
them played the coward purposely, the Boeotians, on the 
contrary, had a long struggle with the Athenians. Those 
of the Thebans who were attached to the Medes, displayed 
especially no little zeal ; far from playing the coward, they 
fought with such fury that three hundred of the best and 
bravest among them were slain by the Athenians in this 
passage of arms. But at last they, too, were routed, and fled 
away not, however, in the same direction as the Persians 
and the crowd of allies, who, having taken no part in the 
battle, ran off without striking a blow but to the city of 

The Storming of the Camp 

The Persians, and the multitude with them, who fled to 
the wooden fortress, were able to ascend into the towers be- 
fore the Lacedaemonians came up. Thus placed, they pro- 
ceeded to strengthen the defenses as well as they could ; 
and when the Lacedaemonians arrived, a sharp fight took 
place at the rampart. So long as the Athenians were away, 
the barbarians kept off their assailants, and had much the 
best of the combat, since the Lacedaemonians were unskilled 
in the attack of walled places, 1 but on the arrival of the 
Athenians, a more violent assault was made, and the wall 
was for a long time attacked with fury. In the end the 
valor of the Athenians and their perseverance prevailed 
they gained the top of the wall, and, breaking a breach 
through it, enabled the Greeks to pour in. The first to 
enter here were the Tegeans, and they it was who plundered 
the tent of Mardonius, where among other booty, they found 
the manger from which his horses ate, all made of solid brass, 
and well worth looking at. As soon as the wall was broken 
down, the barbarians no longer kept together in any array, 

iThe inability to conduct sieges is one of the most striking features of 
the Spartan military character. The Athenian skill contrasted remark- 
ably with the Spartan inefficiency. 


nor was there one among them who thought of making fur 
ther resistance in good truth, they were all half dead with 
fright, huddled as so many thousands were into so narrow 
and confined a space. With such tameness did they sub- 
mit to be slaughtered by the Greeks, that of the 300,000 
men who composed the army omitting the 40,000 by 
whom Artabazus was accompanied in his flight no more 
than 3000 outlived the battle. 1 Of the Lacedaemonians from 
Sparta there perished in this combat ninety-one ; of the Te- 
geans, sixteen ; of the Athenians, fifty-two. 

1 Rational criticism of course reduces the proportions of this horrible 
slaughter. It is improbable- that Mardonius ever had 300,000 men : and 
extremely likely that a great many Asiatics escaped homeward, as 
scattered fugitives. 


The Persian War left its legacy in the vigor, pride, and 
triumphant enthusiasm which it infused into Athens. Part of this 
energy expended itself in military conquest ; a still krger part 
found its realization in artistic, literary, and intellectual achieve- 
ments such as no later people, however numerous, have equaled 
within anything like the same interval of time. To select passages 
from the ancient authors to illustrate " The Age of Pericles " and 
the years which preceded it and followed, has proved highly 
difficult so much of prime value must in any case "be omitted. 

In this chapter the first set of extracts pertains to the rise of 
the Athenian Empire ; then follow a few readings from the master 
historian Thucydides to illustrate the nicely poised vigor of his 
style as distinguished from the charming garrulity of Herodotus, 
and also to illumine a few notable incidents in that fateful 
Peloponnesian War in which the imperial glory of Athens was 
shipwrecked. Finally there are included a number of passages 
from various quarters illustrating the civic, intellectual, and private 
activities of the Athenians at the time their civilization was at its 
height. Some of these passages relate to the fourth century B.C., 
but conditions usually were not so altered as to render them value- 
less also for understanding the fifth century. 


Plutarch, " Life of Cimon," chaps. X-XI 

After the great Persian invasion, and especially following the 
death of Aristides and the waning of the influence of Themistocles, 
the leading public man of Athens for some time was undoubtedly 



Oimon, the son of Miltiades, the victor of Marathon. Although 
by no means an ideal leader, he long kept the hearts of the Athe- 
nian people, thanks to his brilliant campaigns against the Persians. 
The rise to prominence of Pericles, and the growth of an intense 
jealousy between Athens and Sparta, despite the fact that Cimon 
had done everything possible to promote their friendship, at 
length undermined his influence. 

Cimon grew rich, and what he gained from the barbarians 
with honor, he spent yet more honorably upon the citizens. 
For he pulled down all the inclosures of bis gardens and 
grounds, that strangers, and the needy of his fellow citizens, 
might gather of his fruits freely. At home, he kept a table, 
plain, but sufficient for a considerable number, to which 
any poor townsman had free access, and so might support 
himself without labor, with his whole time left free for 
public duties. Aristotle states, however, that this reception 
did not extend to all the Athenians, but only to his own 
fellow townsmen, the Laciadae. 1 Besides this, he always 
went attended by two or three young companions, very well 
clad ; and if he met with an elderly citizen in a poor habit, 
one of these would change clothes with the decayed citizen, 
which was looked upon as very nobly done. He enjoined 
them, likewise, to carry a considerable quantity of coin 
about them, which they were to convey silently into the 
hands of the better class of poor men, as they stood by them 
in the market place. . . . 

But Cimon's generosity outdid all the old Athenian hos- 
pitality and good nature. For though it is the city's boast 
that their forefathers taught the rest of Greece to sow corn, 
and how to use springs of water, and to kindle fire, yet 
Cimon, by keeping open house for his fellow citizens, and 
giving travelers liberty to eat the fruits which the several 
seasons produced in bis land, seemed to restore to the world 
that community of goods which mythology says existed in 

i Cimon appears to have belonged to the " deme " or township of Lacia. 

470 B.C.] CIMON 201 

the reign of Saturn. Those who object to him that he did 
this to be popular, and gain the applause of the vulgar, are 
confuted by the constant tenor of the rest of his actions, 
which all tended to uphold the interests of the nobility and 
the Spartan policy, of which he gave instances, when, together 
with Aristides, he opposed Theinistocles, who was advancing 
the authority of the people beyond its just limits, and re- 
sisted Ephialtes, who, to please the multitude, was for abol- 
ishing the jurisdiction of the court of Areopagus. And 
when all of his time, except Aristides and Ephialtes, en- 
riched themselves out of the public money, he still kept his 
hands clean and untainted, and to his last day never acted 
or spoke for his own private gain or emolument. They tell 
us that Ehcesaces, a Persian, who had traitorously revolted 
from the king his master, fled to Athens, and there, being 
harassed by sycophants, who were still accusing him to the 
people, he applied himself to Cimon for redress, and, to gain 
his favor, laid down in his doorway two cups, the one full 
of gold, and the other of silver darics. Cimon smiled and 
asked him whether he wished to have Cimon's hired service 
or his friendship. He replied, his friendship. " If so," said 
he, " take- away these pieces, for being your friend, when I 
shall have occasion for them, I will send and ask for them." 
The allies of the Athenians l began now to be weary of 
war and military service, willing to have repose, and to 
look after their husbandry and traffic. For they saw their 
enemies driven out of the country, and did not fear any 
new vexations from them. They still paid the tax they 
were assessed at, but did not send men and galleys, as they 
had done before. This the other Athenian generals wished 
to constrain them to, and by judicial proceedings against 
defaulters, and penalties which they inflicted on them, 

i The lonians, Islanders, etc., who had joined the " Delian Confederacy " 
under the leadership of Athens for defense against Persia (founded 478 
or 477 B.C.). 


made the government uneasy, and even odious. But Cimon 
practiced a contrary method ; he forced no man to go that 
was not willing, but of those that desired to be excused 
from service he took money and vessels unmanned, and 
let them yield to the temptation of staying at home, to 
attend to their private business. Thus they lost their 
military habits, and luxury and their own folly quickly 
changed them into un warlike husbandmen and traders; 
while Cimon, continually embarking large numbers of 
Athenians on board his galleys, thoroughly disciplined 
them in his expeditions, and ere long made them the lords 
of their own paymasters. The allies, whose indolence main- 
tained them, while they thus went sailing about everywhere, 
and incessantly bearing arms and acquiring skill, began to 
fear and natter them, and found themselves after a while allies 
no longer, but unwittingly become tributaries and slaves. 


Thucydides, book I, chaps. 103-113. Jowetf s Translation 

From 479 to 431 B.C. the power of Athens was at its height. 
This was the glorious age, when the Athenian people, quickened 
in all their free energies by the consciousness of triumph over 
Persia, went from one great deed to another. Considering the 
rare fruits to civilization produced by this "Age of Pericles" 
it is remarkable how little we know of some phases of the political 
and military history of Athens during this most important period. 
The following is part of a brief sketch prepared by Thucydides, 
introductory to his long story of the Peloponuesian War. It 
covers the years 459 to 449, the period of the greatest Athe- 
nian activity. 

The Athenians .obtained the alliance of the Megarians, 
who revolted from the Lacedaemonians x because the Corin- 

* The Megarians seem to have quitted their Spartan alliance because 
the Spartans would not check the Corinthians ; and therefore they sought 
the help oi Athens. 


thians were pressing them hard in a war arising out of a 
question of frontiers. Thus they gained both Megara and 
Pagse [on the Corinthian Gulf]; and they built for the 
Megarians the Long Walls extending from the city to the 
port of Nisaea, which they garrisoned themselves. This 
was the original and the main cause of the intense hatred 
which the Corinthians entertained towards the Athenians. 

Meantime, Inaros, [a petty king in Libya, raised Egypt 
in revolt against Persia] and called in the Athenians. They 
were just then carrying on war against Cyprus with 200 
ships of their own and their allies ; and quitting the island 
they went to his aid. They sailed from the sea into the 
Kile, and getting possession of two thirds of Memphis, 
proceeded to attack the remaining part called the White 
Castle, in which the Persians and Medes had taken refuge, 
and with them such Egyptians as had not joined in the 

The Athenians war ivith the Peloponnesians 

An Athenian fleet made a descent on Halieis [on the 
coast of Argolis] where a battle took place against some 
Corinthian and Epidaurian troops : the Corinthians gained 
the victory. Soon afterwards the Athenians fought at sea 
off Cecryphaleia with a Peloponnesian fleet, which they de- 
feated. A war next broke^ out between the JSginetans and 
Athenians, and a great battle was fought off the coast of 
JSgina in which the allies of both parties joined. The 
Athenians were victorious, and captured 70 of the enemy's 
ships : then they landed on JSgina, and under the command 
of Leocrates, the son of Stroebus, besieged the town. There- 
upon the Peloponnesians sent over to the assistance of 
the JEginetans, 300 hoplites who had previously been 
assisting the Corinthians and Epidaurians. The Corin- 
thians seized the heights of Geraneia and thence made a 
descent with their allies into the Megarian territory, think- 


ing the Athenians, who had so large a force absent in 
^)gina and in Egypt, would be unable to assist the Mega- 
rians, or, if they did, would be obliged to raise the siege 
of JEgina. But the Athenians without moving their army 
from JSgina, sent to Megara, under the command of My- 
ronides, a force consisting of their oldest and youngest men, 
who had remained at home. A battle was fought which 
hung equally in the balance. When. the two armies separ 
rated, they both thought they had gained the victory. The 
Athenians, however, did get rather the better, and, on the 
departure of the Corinthians, erected a trophy. [And 
when the Corinthians joined battle with the Athenians 
a second time, they were still more decisively defeated.] 

About this time the Athenians began to build their " Long 
Walls " extending to the sea, one to the harbor of Phalerum, 
the other to the Peirseus ... [At this time, too, a Spartan 
force was sent into Central Greece to assist the Dorians 1 
of that region against the Phocians. On their way back 
some Athenians disaffected with the democracy induced 
them to attack Attica. The Athenians met the invaders at 
Tanagra in Boeotia] and the Lacedaemonians and their allies, 
after great slaughter on both sides, gained the victory. They 
then marched into Megarian territory, and, cutting down 
fruit trees, returned home. . . . 

The Athenians gain -Power in Boeotia 

However, on the 62d day after the battle, the Athenians 
made another expedition into Boeotia under the command 
of Myronides, and there was a battle at (Enophyta, in which 
they defeated the Boeotians and became masters of Boeotia 
and Phocis. They pulled down the walls of Tanagra, and 
took as hostages from the Opuntian Locrians, 100 of their 
richest citizens. They then completed their own "Long 
Walls." Soon afterward the JSginetans came to terms with 

1 The petty tribe whence the Peloponnesian Dorians claimed origin. 


the Athenians, dismantling their walls, surrendering their 
ships, and agreeing to pay tribute for the future. The 
Athenians under the command of Tolmides, the son of 
Tolmseus, sailed around the Peloponnesus and burned the 
Lacedaemonian dockyard [at Cythium]. They also took the 
Corinthian town of Chalcis, 1 and making a raid on Sicyon, 
defeated a Sicyonian force. 

The Egyptian Expedition Fails 

The Athenians and their allies were still in Egypt where 
they carried on the war with varying fortune. At first they 
were masters of the country. The king [of Persia] sent to 
Lacedeemon, Megabazus, a Persian, who was well supplied 
with money, in hope that he might persuade the Pelopon- 
nesians to invade Attica, and so draw off the Athenians 
from Egypt. He had no success; the money was being 
spent, and nothing done, 2 so with what remained of it he 
found his way back to Asia. The king then sent into Egypt 
[another] Megabazus, the son of Zopyrus, a Persian, who 
marched overland with a large army and defeated the 
Egyptians and their allies. He drove the Hellenes oat of 
Memphis, and finally shut them up in the island of Proso- 
phis [in the Nile], where he blockaded them during eighteen 
months. At length he drained the canal and diverted the 
water, thus leaving their ships high and dry and joining 
nearly the whole island to the mainland. He then crossed 
over with a land force, and took the island. 

[Thus], after six years' fighting the cause of the Hel- 
lenes [in Egypt] was lost. A few survivors of their great 
army found their way through Libya to Cyrene ; by far the 
larger number perished. Fifty additional triremes which 
had been sent by the Athenians and their allies to relieve 

1 A small town in .SStolia, not the greater Euboean Chalcis. 
2 The Spartan magnates seem to have taken the bribes readily, bat were 
not yet prepared to betray Hellas. 


the other forces, in ignorance of what had happened, sailed 
into the Mendesian mouth of the Nile. But they were at 
once attacked both from the land and from the sea, and the 
greater part were destroyed by the Phoenician fleet, a few 
ships only escaping. Thus ended the great Egyptian ex- 
pedition of the Athenians and their allies. 1 

Athens makes a Trace tvith the, Peloponnesians 

A short time afterward 1000 Athenians under the com- 
mand of Pericles, the son of Xanthippus, embarking on board 
the fleet which they had at Pagse, now in their possession, 
coasted along to Sicyon, and there landing defeated the 
Sicyonians who came out to meet them. With the least 
possible delay, taking on board Achaean troops and sailing 
to the opposite coast they attacked and besieged (Eniadse, a 
town of Acarnania; but they failed to reduce it and re- 
turned home. 

After an interval of three years, a five years' truce was 
concluded between the Peloponnesians and the Athenians. 
The Athenians now abstained from war in Hellas itself, but 
made an expedition to Cyprus, with 200 ships of their own 
and of their allies, under the command of Oimon : 60 ships 
were detached from the armament and sailed to Egypt, at 
the request of Amyrtaeus, king of the fens [in the Nile 
delta], the remainder proceeded to blockade Citium [in 
Cyprus]. Here Cimon died and a famine arose in the 
country : so the fleet quitted Citium. Arriving off Salainis 
in Cyprus they fought at sea and also on land with Phoeni- 
cian and Cilician forces. Gaining a victory in both engage- 
ments, they returned home, accompanied by the ships which 
had gone out with them and had now come back from Egypt. 

1 It is a great misfortune we have not a more complete account of this 
highly romantic attempt of the Athenians to establish their power in 
Egypt. The man and money they wasted on this expedition might have 
insured their supremacy in Greece Proper, if kept at home. 


After this the Lacedaemonians engaged in the so-called 
" Sacred War," and took possession of the temple of Delphi, 
which they handed over to the Delphians. But no sooner 
had they retired than the Athenians sent an expedition and 
recovered the temple, which they handed over to the Pho- 
cians. [The Athenian power both by land and sea was 
now at its height, but very soon their power on land began 
to decline.] 


Plutarch, " Life of Pericles," chap. XI ff. 

Pericles's twofold task was to make Athens the leading city of 
Hellas in all the arts and activities of peace, as well as to make 
her preeminent in naval and military power. In the second 
undertaking he met with only temporary success. In the first he 
prospered perhaps beyond his expectations. 

He was a great "Demagogue " (i.e. leader of the people) in the 
good sense of the term, resting his power on the popular will, but 
never descending to ignoble means to court it. How he used his 
influence to extend the prosperity of Athens and to make her the 
most beautiful city in Hellas is told in this well-known passage 
from Plutarch. 

[Pericles as leader of the Democratic element in Athens, 
and Cimon, the Aristocratic leader, were always contend- 
ing for power, and] the open rivalry and contention of 
these two opponents made the gash deep, and severed the 
city into the two parties of the people and the few. And so 
Pericles, at that time more than at any other, let loose the 
reins to the " People," and made his policy subservient to 
their pleasure, contriving continually to have some great 
public show or solemnity, some banquet, or some procession 
or other in the town to please them, coaxing his country- 
men like children, with such delights and pleasures as were 
not, however, unedifying. Besides that every year he sent 


out threescore galleys, on board of which there wenl 
numbers of the citizens, who were in pay eight months, 
learning at the same time and practicing the art of sea- 

He sent, moreover, a thousand of them into the Cher- 
sonese as planters, to share the land among them by lot, and 
five hundred more into the isle of Naxos, and half that 
number to Andros, a thousand into Thrace to dwell among 
the Bisaltae, and others into Italy, when the city Sybaris, 
which now was called Thurii, was to be repeopled. And 
this he did to ease and discharge the city of an idle, and, by 
reason of their idleness, a busy, meddling crowd of people ; 
and at the same time to meet the necessities and restore the 
fortunes of the poor townsmen, and to intimidate, also, and 
check their allies from attempting any change, by posting 
such garrisons, as it were, in the midst of them. 

That which gave most pleasure and ornament to -the city 
of Athens, and the greatest admiration and even astonish- 
ment to all strangers, and that which now is Greece's only 
evidence that the power she boasts of and her ancient wealth 
are no romance or idle story, was his construction of the 
public and sacred buildings. Yet this was that of all his 
actions in the government which his 'enemies most looked 
askance upon and caviled at in the popular assemblies, 
crying out how that the commonwealth* of Athens had lost 
its reputation and was ill-spoken of abroad for removing 
the common treasure of the Greeks from the isle of Delos 
into their own custody ; and how that their fairest excuse 
for so doing, namely, that they took it away for fear the 
barbarians should seize it, and on purpose to secure it in a 
safe place, this Pericles had made unavailable, and how 
that " Greece cannot but resent it as an insufferable affront, 
and consider herself to be tyrannized over openly, when she 
sees the treasure, which was contributed by her upon a 
necessity for the war, wantonly lavished out by us upon our 


city, to gild her all over, and to adorn and set her forth, as 
it were some vain woman, hung round with precious stones 
and figures and temples, which cost a wqrld of money." 

How Pericles justified his Building Policy 

Pericles, on the other hand, informed the people that 
they were in no way obliged to give any account of those 
moneys to their allies, so long as they maintained their 
defense, and kept off the barbarians from attacking them ; 
while in the meantime they did not so much as supply one 
horse or man or ship, but only found money for the service ; 
" which money," said he, " is not theirs that give it, but 
theirs that receive it, if so be they perform the conditions 
upon which they receive it." And that it was good reason, 
that, now the city was sufficiently provided and stored 
with all things necessary for the "war, they should convert 
the overplus of its wealth to such undertakings as would 
hereafter, when completed, give them eternal honor, and, for 
the present, while in process, freely supply all the inhabit- 
ants with plenty. With their variety of workmanship and 
of occasions for service, which summon all arts and trades 
and require all hands to be employed about them, they do 
actually put the whole city, in a manner, into state pay ; 
while at the same time she is both beautified and maintained 
by herself. For as those who are of age and strength for war 
are provided for and maintained in the armaments abroad 
by their pay out of the public stock, so, it being his desire and 
design that the undisciplined mechanic multitude that stayed 
at home should not go without their share of public sal- 
aries, and yet should not have them given them for sitting, 
still and doing nothing, to that end he thought fit to bring 
in among them, with the approbation of the people, these 
vast projects of buildings and designs of works, that would 
be of some continuance before they were finished, and would 
give employment to numerous arts, so that the part of the 


people that stayed at home might, no less than those that 
were at sea or in garrisons or on expeditions, have a fair 
and just occasion of receiving the benefit and having their 
share of the public moneys. 

The Great Commercial Activity in Athens, thanks to Pericles } s 


The materials were stone, brass, ivory, gold, ebony, Cyprus 
wood; and the arts or trades that wrought and fashioned 
them were smiths and carpenters, molders, founders and 
braziers, stonecutters, dyers, goldsmiths, ivory workers, 
painters, embroiderers, turners ; those again that conveyed 
them to the town for use, merchants and mariners and ship- 
masters by sea, and by land, cartwrights, cattle breed- 
ers, wagoners, ropemakers, flaxworkers, shoemakers and 
leather dressers, road makers, miners. And every trade in 
the same nature, as a captain in an army has his particular 
company of soldiers under him, had its own hired company 
of journeymen and laborers belonging to it banded together 
as in array, to be as it were the instrument and body for the 
performance of the service. Thus, to say all in a word, the 
occasions and services of these public works distributed 
plenty through every age and condition. 

As then grew the works up, no less stately in size than 
exquisite in form, the workmen striving to outvie the 
material and the design with the beauty of their workman- 
ship, yet the most wonderful thing of -all was the rapidity 
of their execution. Undertakings any one of which singly 
might have required, they thought, for their completion, 
several successions and ages of men, were every one of them 
accomplished in the height and prime of one man's political 
service. There is a sort of bloom of newness upon those 
works of his, preserving them from the touch of time, as if 
they had some perennial spirit and undying vitality mingled 
in the composition of them. 


Phidias and other Helpers of Perides 

Phidias had the oversight of all the works, and was sur- 
veyor-general, though upon the various portions other great 
masters and workmen were employed. Tor Callicrates and 
Ictinus built the Parthenon ; the chapel at Eleusis, where 
the mysteries were celebrated, was begun by Coroebus, who 
erected the pillars that stand upon the floor or pavement, 
and joined them to the architraves: and after his death 
Metagenes of Xypete added the frieze and the upper line of 
columns ; Xenocles of Cholargus roofed or arched the lantern 
on the top of the temple of Castor and Polydeuces ; and the 
long wall, which Socrates says he himself heard Pericles 
propose to the people, was undertaken by Callicrates. This 
work Cratinus ridicules, as long in finishing, 

" 'Tis long since Pericles, if words would do it, 
Talk'd up the wall ; yet adds not one mite to it." 

The Odeum, or music room, which in its interior was full 
of seats and ranges of pillars, and outside had its roof made 
to slope and descend from one single point at the top, was 
constructed, we are told, in imitation of the king of Persia's 
Pavilion; this likewise by Pericles's order; which Cratinus 
again, in his comedy called " The Thracian Women/ 5 made 
an occasion of raillery, 

" So, we see here, 
Zeus Long-pate Pericles appear, 
Since ostracism time, he's laid aside his head, 
And wears the new Odeum in its stead. 9 ' 

TJie Propylcea 

The Propylsea, or entrances to the Acropolis, were finished 
in five years' time, Mnesicles being the principal architect. 
A strange accident happened in the course of building, which 
showed that the goddess was not averse to the work, but 
was aiding and cooperating to bring it to perfection. One 


of the artificers, the quickest and the handiest workman 
among them all, with a slip of his foot fell down from a 
great height, and lay in a miserable condition, the physicians 
having no hopes of his recovery. When Pericles was in 
distress about this, Athens appeared to him at night in a 
dream, and ordered a course of treatment, which he applied, 
and in a short time and with great ease cured the man. 
And upon this occasion it was that he set up a brass statue 
of Athene, surnamed Health, in the citadel near the altar, 
which they say was there before. But it was Phidias who 
wrought the goddess's image in gold, and he has his name 
inscribed on the pedestal as the workman of it ; and indeed 
the whole work in a manner was under his charge, and he 
had, as we have said already, the oversight over all the 
artists and workmen, through Pericles's friendship for him. 


Thucydides, book I, chaps. 69-71. Jowett's Translation 

In 432 B.C. the envoys of Corinth came to Sparta to urge her to 
avenge the wrongs alleged to have been inflicted by Athens upon 
their city. Thucydides takes the occasion to put into the mouths 
of the Corinthians a remarkable speech, in which they tell the 
Lacedaemonians many home truths, and point out clearly why 
Sparta was losing the hegemony of Greece. It must be borne in 
mind that all the praise here given Athens is supposed to have 
been spoken by her bitterest enemies. The effectiveness of the 
tribute is thereby more than doubled. 

[You Lacedaemonians have allowed Athens to develop her 
power, and have sat idly by while your own power was in 
danger.] Of all Hellenes, Lacedaemonians, you are the 
only people who never do anything. On the approach of an 
enemy you are content to defend yourself against him, not 
by acts, but by intentions, and seek to overthrow him not in 


the infancy but in the fullness of his strength. How came 
you to be considered safe ? That reputation of yours was 
never justified by facts. We know that the Persian made 
his way from the ends of the earth before you encountered 
him in a worthy manner ; and now you are blind to the do- 
ings of the Athenians, who are not at a distance as he was, 
but close at hand. 

Have you never considered what manner of men these 
Athenians are with whom you will have to fight, and how 
utterly unlike yourselves ? They are revolutionary, quick 
in the conception and in the execution of every new plan ; 
while you are conservative careful only to keep what you 
have, originating nothing, and not acting even when action 
is necessary. They are bold beyond their strength ; they 
run risks which prudence would condemn; in the midst of 
misfortune they are full of hope. Whereas it is your nature, 
though strong, to act feebly; when your plans are most 
prudent to distrust them, and when calamities befall to 
think you will never be delivered from them. They are im- 
petuous, and you are dilatory ; they are always abroad, and 
you are always at home. For they hope to gain something 
by leaving their homes, but you are afraid that any new 
enterprise will imperil what you have already. When con- 
querors they pursue their victory to the uttermost ; when 
defeated they fall back the least. 

Their bodies they devote to their country as though they 
belonged to other men. TJieir true self is their mind, which 
is most truly their own when employed in her service. 
When they do not carry out an intention which they have 
formed, they seem to have sustained a personal bereavement : 
when an enterprise succeeds they have gained a mere install- 
ment of what is to come ; but if they fail they at once con- 
ceive new hopes and so fill up the void. With them alone, 
to hope is to have, for they lose not a moment in the execu- 
tion of an idea. This is the lifelong task, full of toil and 


danger, which they are always imposing upon themselves* 
None enjoy their good things less, because they are always 
seeking for more. To do their duty is their only holiday, and 
they deem the quiet of inaction to be as disagreeable as the 
most tiresome business. If a man should say of them in a 
word, that they were born neither to have peace themselves, 
nor to allow peace to others, he would simply speak the truth. 

In the face of such an enemy, Lacedaemonians, you per- 
sist in doing nothing. . . . [Your policy of inaction] would 
hardly be successful, even if your neighbors were like your- 
selves, and in the present case, as we pointed out just now, 
your ways as compared with theirs are old-fashioned. 

. . . [Therefore act promptly], and we will remain your 
friends if you choose to bestir yourselves. . . . Take heed 
then ; you have inherited from your fathers the leadership 
of the Peloponnesus : see that her greatness suffers no dim- 
inution at your hands. 


Thucydides, book H, chap. 65. Jowetf s Translation 

Pericles had been the leader of the Athenian democracy for over 
thirty years when he died in 429 B.O. Most of the time he 
wielded the power of an uncrowned king, thanks to his ability to 
command the majority of the voters in the Ecclesia. The judg- 
ment which Thucydides passes upon his abilities and character has 
been ratified by later history. Pericles might have postponed the 
Peloponnesian War by divers concessions, but he believed it inevi- 
table, and allowed Sparta to force the issue. He was entirely jus- 
tified in believing that Athens would emerge victorious if she ad- 
hered to a strictly defensive policy. 

Pericles survived the commencement of hostilities two 
yeai:s and six months, and, after his death, his foresight 
was even better appreciated than during his life. For he 


had told the Athenians that if they -would be patient and 
attend to their navy, and not seek to enlarge their dominions 
while the war was going on, nor imperil the existence of the 
city, they would be victorious, [but after his death private 
ambition and interest led them into policies which were 
ruinous . . . ]. The reason of the difference was that he, 
deriving authority from his capacity and acknowledged 
worth, being also a man of transparent integrity, was able 
to control the multitude in a free spirit ; he led them rather 
than was led by them ; for, not seeking power by dishonest 
arts, he had no need to say pleasant things, but on the 
strength of his own high character could venture to oppose 
and even to anger them. When he saw them unseasonably 
elated and arrogant, his words humbled and awed them; 
and, when they were depressed by groundless fears, he 
sought to reanimate their confidence. Thus Athens, though 
still in name a democracy r , was in fact ruled by her greatest 

His successors, however, were more on equality one with 
another, and each one struggled to be first himself; they 
were then ready to sacrifice the whole conduct of affairs to 
the whim of the people. Even when later Cyrus, son of the 
Great King, joined against them, they were at last over- 
thrown not by their enemies, but by themselves, and their 
own internal dissensions. So that at the time Pericles was 
more than justified in the conviction at which his foresight 
had arrived, that the Athenians would win an easy victory 
over the unaided forces of the Peloponnesians. 


Inscription. Date about 460-450 B.C. 

This inscription gives us considerable information as to the 
kind of " Democracies " Athens set up in the vassal cities of her 
Empire. Notice that this constitution is voted by the Athenian 


Assembly and imposed by it on Erythrae (a town of considerable 
importance in Ionia) : according to accepted Greek notions this 
interference of one polis in the affairs of another was highly " ty- 

[Some earlier lines illegible, probably relating to the time and 
manner when the decree was passed in the Athenian Ecclesia.] 

The Erythrseans shall bring to the greater festival of Di- 
onysus [at Athens] offerings of not less than three minse in 
value (about $54.00). The ten Magistrates of the Sacrifices 
shall portion out the meat to the Erythraeans who are present, 
a drachma's worth being given to each. If the sacrificial 
animals are acceptable, but below the stipulated three minae 
in value, the official Cattle-Buyers shall purchase oxen for 
the sacrifice, and charge the cost to the Erythraean people, 
and any one desiring may feast thereon. 

The Boule of the folk of Erythrae shall comprise 120 
men, chosen by lot [lit. by beans]. The persons so selected 
by lot shall be scrutinized as to his qualifications by the 
[preceding] Boule. No one shall serve on the Boule, if he 
is under thirty years of age. Whoever violates this law is 
subject to prosecution, and if convicted is ineligible for 
choice to the Boule for four years. 1 The Overseers [of 
the new colony] and the Captain of the Guard shall at the 
outset select the Boule by lot and induct it into office. But 
in the future the Boule itself and the Captain of the Guard 
shall do this. Each member, ere taking office, shall swear 
by Zeus and Apollo and Deineter [to do his duty] ; invok- 
ing destruction upon himself and his posterity if he swear 
falsely. He shall take the oath over the burning sacrifices, 
and the Boule shall enforce this requirement. If the oath 
be not taken, the penalty may be a fine of one thousand 
drachmae, or whatever fine the people of Erythrae vote to 
inflict. ... 

i Evidently seats in the Boule were considered likely to be much in de- 
mand by young men, and pains must be taken to exclude them. 


[The oath as given binds the would-be-Bouleman to do his duty 
by his own people, and to keep loyally the alliance and friendship 
with Athens ; also not to receive any exiles who have fled to the 

If any Erythrseans kill a fellow-citizen, the penalty is 
death. If an Erythraean be banished for life, this banish- 
ment extends to the cities allied with Athens also : and his 
property is confiscate to the Erythrseans. If any man be 
detected betraying the city to tyrants, he becomes an out- 
law, and his children with him, unless his children prove 
that they have been friendly both to Ery thrse and Athens : 
[in which case they can keep half their father's property]. 


Inscription. Date about 460 B.C. 

Phaselis was a maritime town of Lycia, on the Pamphylian 
Gulf. The place is named in Thucydides (II. 69) as being an im- 
portant station for the commerce of Athens with Cilicia and Phoe- 
nicia. This inscription shows the form in which the Athenians 
cast their decrees, and the manner in which the sovereign Athe- 
nian demos in the day of its prosperity tried to tie the dependent 
states to its jurisdiction. 

Voted by the Boule and the Demos. When [the tribe of] 
Acamantis held the Prytany [i.e. presidency of the 500], 

Onasippus was secretary, and was chairman. Leon 

made the motion which follows, 

Let a decree be graven for the men of Phaselis, setting 
forth that litigation arising from contracts made at Athens, 
with any man of Phaselis, shall be triable before the pole- 
march at Athens, and in no other place, even as was the 
case with the Chians. 1 

Other cases arising from covenants are to be treated, in 
dealing with the Phaselitans, even as in the agreements 

i A precedent for the Athenians 1 action. 


with the Chians: nevertheless, cases arising outside the 
city [of Athens] are exempted from this rule. 

If the archon receive a case against a citizen of Phaselis, 
from a man dwelling elsewhere [than in Athens], and the 
defendant be condemned, the decision shall not stand. 

If he (the archon) be proven to have [acted contrary to ?] 
the decree, he shall pay a fine of 1000 drachmae [about 
$180.00] : which money shall be consecrated to Athene. 

The secretary of the Boule shall have this decree en- 
graved on a stone monument, and erected in the Acropolis, 
at the expense of the men of Phaselis. 


Thucydides, book H, chaps. 2-6. Jowetf s Translation 
In March 431 B.C. the Thebans (allies of Sparta) made a treach- 
erous attack upon Plataea (an ally of Athens), thereby precipitating 
the Peloponnesian War. The Thebans were natural enemies of the 
Plataeans, since they had long been striving to bring all the Boeotian 
towns under their direct overlordship, and Plataea (since about 509 
B.C.) had avoided their grasp by making a firm league with Athens. 
For fourteen years the "Thirty Years' Peace" which 
was concluded after the recovery of Eubcea [by Athens] 
remained unbroken ; but in the fifteenth year when Chrysis, 
the high priestess of Argos, was in the forty-eighth year of 
her priesthood, JEnesias being ephor at Sparta, and at 
Athens Pythodorus having two months of his archonship 
to run, 1 in the sixth month after the engagement at Potidsea 
and at the beginning of spring, about the first watch of the 
night an armed force of somewhat more than three hundred 
Thebans entered Platsea, a city of BcBotia, which was an 
ally of Athens. 

[They had been invited in by some political malcontents, who 
hoped to overthrow the local pro-Athenian government.] 

1 Note the extremely cumbersome method used in dating the years, 
The method of dating by Olympiads was not used before about 260 B.C. 


There was an old quarrel between the two cities, and the 
Thebans, seeing that war was inevitable, were anxious to 
surprise the place while the peace lasted and before hostili- 
ties had actually broken out. No watch had been set; and 
so they were able to enter the city unperceived. They 
grounded their arms in the Agora ; but instead of going to 
work at once and making their way into the houses of their 
enemies, as those who invited them suggested, they resolved 
to issue a conciliatory proclamation and try to make friends 
with the citizens. The herald announced that if any one 
wished to become their ally and return to the ancient con- 
stitution of Boeotia, he should join their ranks. In this 
way they thought that the inhabitants would be easily in- 
duced to come over to them. 

The Platasans, when they found that the city had been 
surprised and taken, and that the Thebans were inside the 
walls, were panic-stricken. In the darkness they were un- 
able to see them and greatly overestimated their numbers. 
So they came to terms, and, accepting the proposals made to 
them, remained quiet, the more readily since the Thebans 
offered violence to no one. 

The Townsfolk fall upon the Intruders 

But in the course of the negotiations they somehow dis- 
covered that their enemies were not so numerous as they 
had supposed, and concluded they could easily attack and 
master them. They determined to make the attempt, for 
the Platsean people were strongly attached to the Athenian 
alliance. They began to collect inside the houses, break- 
ing through the party walls, that they might not be seen 
going along the streets ; they likewise raised barricades of 
wagons, unyoking the beasts that drew them, and took 
other measures suitable to the emergency. When they had 
done all that could be done under the circumstances they 
sallied forth from their houses, choosing the time of night 


just before daybreak lest, if they put off the attack until 
dawn, the enemy might be more confident and more a match 
for them. While darkness lasted they would be timid and 
at a disadvantage, not knowing the streets so well as them- 
selves. 1 So they fell upon them at once hand to hand. 

When the Thebans found they had been deceived they 
closed their ranks and resisted their assailants on every 
side. Two or three times they drove them back ; but when 
at last the Platseans charged them with a great shout, and 
the women and slaves on the housetops screamed, and yelled, 
and pelted them with stones and tiles, the confusion being 
aggravated by the rain which had been falling heavily during 
the night, they turned and fled in terror through the city. 
Hardly any of them knew the way out : and the streets were 
dark as well as muddy, for the affair happened at the end 
of the month when there was no moon; whereas their 
pursuers knew well enough how to prevent their escape, and 
thus many of them perished. 

TJie Thebans are Overpowered 

The gates by which they .entered were the only ones 
open, and these a Platsean fastened with the spike of a 
javelin, which he thrust into the bar instead of the pin. 
So this exit, too, was closed and they were chased up and 
down the city. Some of them mounted upon the wall, and 
cast themselves down into the open. Most of these were 
killed. Others got out by a deserted gate, cutting through 
the bar unperceived, with an ax which a woman gave them ; 
but only a few, for they were soon found out. But the 
greater number kept together, and took refuge in a large 
building abutting upon the wall, of which the doors on the 
near side chanced to be open, they thinking them to be the 
gates of the city, and expecting to find a way through them 

ilf Plataea was a typical Greek town, the streets were undoubtedly 
fearfully dark, narrow, and crooked. 


into the country. The Plataeans, seeing that they were in a 
trap, began to consider whether they should not set the 
building on fire and burn them as they were. At last they 
and the other Thebans who were still alive and were wander- 
ing about the city, agreed to surrender themselves and their 
arms unconditionally. Thus fared the Thebans in Plataea. 

The main body of the Theban army, which should have 
come during the night to the support of the party entering 
the city in case of a reverse, having on the march heard of 
the disaster, were now hastening to the rescue. Platasa is 
about eight miles distant from Thebes, and the heavy rain 
which had fallen in the night delayed their arrival ; for the 
river Asopus had swollen and was not easily fordable. 
Marching in the rain, and with difficulty crossing the river, 
they came up too late, some of their friends being already 
slain and others captives. 

[The Thebans now tried to seize such Platseans as were outside 
the walls as hostages, but were warned by herald to retire instantly, 
or the captives in Plataea would be killed. The Thebans therefore 
retreated, declaring afterwards they had been promised the pris- 
oners would be restored. The Platseans denied having made this 
promise, 1 and the moment the Thebans were gone, put the 180 
prisoners to death.] 

82. THE AFFAIR OP Psxos 

Abridged from Thucydides, book IV, chaps. 3-14. Jowett's Translation 

In 425 B.C. came the " Affair of Pylos," which gave a turn 
to the war that ought to have ended it in the favor of Athens. 
It was only the most blundering statesmanship that prevented 
that happy issue. If Pericles had been living, it is safe to say 
the contest would then have terminated with a most satisfactory 
peace. By capturing the Spartan garrison at Sphacteria, however, 
the Athenians at least gained a means of compelling the enemy 
to cease from their periodic ravagings of Attica. 

i The Theban version was probabjy the more correct. 


When an expedition of the Athenians bound for Sicily, 
by way of Coreyra, put in at Pylos on the coast of Laconia, 
Demosthenes, one of the admirals, urged his colleagues to 
fortify the place as being easily defended, and a useful 
stronghold against the Spartans in their own country. 
The others told him "there were plenty of desolate prom- 
ontories he might fortify if he wished to waste the public 
funds." However, the weather hindered the fleet from 
sailing, and the Athenian v soldiers, having nothing else 
to do, built a fort, improvising the tools and material ; and 
the place was natiirally so strong that it needed little work 
to make it almost impregnable. Then the fleet sailed away, 
leaving five ships to defend the new fortress. 

When the news of this reached the Peloponnesians they 
were invading Attica. Now they hastened promptly home, 
and the Spartans summoned their allies to send ships to 
blockade and reduce Pylos ; but Demosthenes hastened off 
two vessels to Corcyra to call back the fleet to rescue him. 

The Lacedwmonians fail to retake the Athenian Fortress 

While the Athenians were hastening up with succor, the 
Lacedaemonians were preparing to attack the fort by sea 
and land. They thought that there would be little difficulty 
in taking a work so hasily constructed and defended by 
a mere handful. However, to head off the Athenian ships 
they resolved to close the harbor, and so cut off all aid. 
The small island called Sphacteria, close to the land, divided 
the harbor entrances, leaving both quite narrow: the one 
on the north nearest Pylos only wide enough to give pas- 
sage for two ships; the southern one for eight or nine. 
The island was about [a mile and three quarters] long and 
heavily wooded. To hold this island the Lacedaemonians 
sent 420 hoplites, besides their attendant helots, 1 com- 
manded by Epitadas, the son of Molobrus. 
i Probably one helot for each hoplite 


Meantime Demosthenes had arrayed his small body of 
sailors and hoplites to best advantage. He exhorted his 
men to stand firm : pointing out their great advantage of 
position, and how difficult it was to disembark in the face 
of an enemy who was not " frightened out of his wits at 
the splashing of oars and the threatening look of a ship 
bearing down upon him." 

The Lacedaemonians attacked with 43 ships: but they 
had to come up by relays there was only space for a 
few ships to approach at once ; and the pilots were fearful 
of getting on the rocks. They made great efforts to dis- 
embark but could not on account of the roughness of 
the ground and the steadfastness of the Athenians. It was 
a strange turn of fortune indeed which drove the Athenians 
[the great sea power] to repel the Lacedaemonians, who 
were attacking them by sea from the Lacedaemonian coast; 
and the Lacedaemonians [the great land power] to fight for 
a landing on their own soil, now hostile to them, in the 
face of the Athenians. 

TJte AtJienians gain the Upper Hand 

Three days long the attack was pressed vainly; and 
now the Athenian fleet 50 strong came hasting back from 
Zacynthus. When the Peloponnesians did not sail out to meet 
them, after the Athenian admirals realized the situation, 
they rushed into the harbor by both entrances at once, and 
drove the enemies' ships ashore. The Lacedaemonians in 
agony for their friends now cut off on the island, struggled 
desperately, but it was in vain. The Athenians gained 
control of the harbor, and set a guard over the island. 

At Sparta there was now vast consternation. The ephors 
finding no means of relieving their men on Sphacteria made 
a compact with the Athenian admirals. They were to 
hand over all their ships to the Athenians; and in turn 
the Athenians were to allow a fixed amount of food to be 


sent to the entrapped hoplites ; this to continue until peace 
envoys could be sent to Athens to negotiate for the end 
of the war. If either party violated the truce in the least, 
it was to cease to be binding. 

Sparta proposes Peace, but is refused Tolerable Conditions 

At Athens the Spartan envoys talked earnestly of the op- 
portunity now given the Athenians for ending the war on 
advantageous terms ; and promised " the lasting friendship 
of the Lacedaemonians," if they would consent to reasonable 
conditions ; also urging that Athens and Sparta if allied 
could give the law to all Hellas ; but Cleon, a popular dema- 
gogue, who had the greatest influence over the multitude, 
induced the Ecclesia to reply that Sparta must allow Athens 
to have Nissea [the port of Megara], Troezen and 'Achaia, 
places Athens had not lost in this war but in a former 
one. Despite their anxiety for peace, the Spartan envoys 
dared not consent to such terms. They quitted Athens and 
the truce was. at end. On the ground of some petty in- 
fractions of the agreement, the Athenians refused to restore 
to the enemy the ships that had been given up during the 
negotiation, and pressed the blockade of the island, but the 
task of reducing it was difficult. On windy days the blockade 
was imperfect and boats ran the gantlet ; again swimmers 
made their way over dragging skins containing pounded lin- 
seed and poppy seeds mixed with honey. 

How Cleon was sent to Sphacteria 

At Athens there was now fear that the Spartans would 
escape, and Cleon at last spoke in the Ecclesia ; criticizing 
especially Kicias the general, his personal enemy, saying 
sarcastically " that if the generals were good for anything 
they might easily sail to the island and take the men, and 
that was certainly what he would do, were he but general." 


Nicias thereupon retorted that "so far as the generals 
were concerned he might take any force he required and 
try." Cleon at first imagined Nicias was pretending, and 
was willing to go ; finding him in earnest he tried to beg 
off, and said that " It was not he, but Nicias who was gen- 
eral"; for he was alarmed, having never imagined that 
Nicias would go so far as to give up his place to him. The 
more, however, Cleon tried to decline and retract, the more 
the multitude, as their manner is, urged Cleon to sail instead 
of Nicias. At last, unable to escape, he undertook the ex- 
pedition, saying he was not afraid ; and that if he could have 
certain auxiliary light troops, he would in twenty days 
either kill all the Lacedaemonians, or capture them. His 
words awoke laughter: and the wiser citizens were pleased 
when they reflected that one of two good things was certain 
an end to Cleon, which alternative they preferred, or at 
least the capture of the Lacedaemonians. 

Cleon makes good his Promise 

Cleon, however, was aided by a fire, which destroyed most 
of the woods on Sphacteria, and revealed the numbers and 
position of the enemy. Disembarking an overwhelming 
number of men, mostly light-armed troops with missiles, he 
harassed the Spartans in a long desperate fight, and drove 
them back to a fort, where they held out bravely for some 
time, until they were surrounded, and at last, when all hope 
was fled, and their leaders slain, they surrendered. Of 
the 420 hoplites originally on the island, only 295 lived to 
be taken. 

The Athenians now withdrew their army and returned 
home; and the mad promise of Cleon was fulfilled 
for he did bring back the prisoners within twenty days, as 
he had said. 

Nothing which happened during the war caused greater 
amazement in Hellas ; for it was universally imagined 


that the Lacedaemonians would never give up their arms 
even under the pressure of famine, but would fight to the 
last and die sword in hand. 1 

On the arrival of the captives the Athenians resolved to 
put them in chains until peace was concluded ; but if in the 
meantime the Lacedaemonians invaded Attica, to slay the 
prisoners. They also threw a garrison into Pylos, which 
fortress became a center for ravaging expeditions into La- 
conia, and a refuge for runaway helots. 


Thucydides, book VI, chaps. 30-32. Jowett's Translation 

In 415 B.C., at the instigation of the clever hut self-seeking 
Alcibiades, the Athenians dispatched a vast armament for the 
conquest of Syracuse. They put forth their uttermost resources 
upon the expedition, rightly convinced that victory here would 
give them the supremacy of Hellas. The story of the sailing of 
the fleet is the occasion for one of the most graphic passages in 
Thucydides. There is, of course, the unspoken contrast between 
the vastness of the hopes of the Athenians and the depth of the 
calamity into which they were plunging. 

Early in the morning of the day appointed for their de- 
parture the Athenians and such of their allies as had al- 
ready joined them went down to the Piraeus and began to 
man the ships. The entire population of Athens accompa- 
nied them, citizens and strangers alike. The citizens came 
to take farewell, one of an acquaintance, another of a kins- 
man, another of a son : the crowd as they passed along were 
full of hope and full of tears : hope of conquering Sicily, 
tears because they doubted whether they would ever see 

1 There was nothing " mad " about Cleon's promise to capture the Spar- 
tans : they were simply overwhelmed by numbers, but the awe in which the 
Athenians and all other Hellenes stood of even a battalion of these hop- 
lites is a testimony to Spartan military tradition and valor. 


their friends again, when they thought of the long voyage 
on which they were sending them. . . . Nevertheless their 
spirits revived at the sight of the armament in all its strength 
and of the abundant provision which they had made. The 
strangers and the rest of the multitude came out of curiosity, 
desiring to witness an enterprise of which the greatness 
exceeded belief. 

No armament so magnificent or costly had ever been sent 
out by any single Hellenic power. . . * On the fleet the 
greatest pains had been lavished by the trierarchs x and by 
the state. The public treasury gave a drachma per day (18 
cents), to each sailor, and furnished empty hulls for 60 
swift-sailing vessels, and for 40 transports carrying hoplites. 
All these were manned by the best crews which could be 
obtained. The trierarchs, besides the pay given by the state, 
added somewhat out of their own means to the wages of 
the upper tiers of rowers 2 and of the petty officers. The 
figureheads and other fittings provided by them were of the 
most costly description. Every one strove to the uttermost 
that Ids ship might excel both in beauty and swiftness. 

The infantry, too, had been well selected and the lists care- 
fully made up. There was the keenest rivalry among the 
soldiers in the matter of arms and personal equipment. 
And while at home the Athenians were thus competing with 
one another in the performance of their several duties, to 
the rest of Hellas the expedition seemed to be a grand dis- 
play of their power and greatness, rather than a preparation 
for war. If any one reckoned up the whole expenditure (I) 
of the state, (II) of individual soldiers [and private contrib- 
utors] he would have found that altogether an immense sum 
amounting to many talents was withdrawn from the city. 

* Here is meant the wealthy citizens who assumed the outfitting of a 
trireme, rather than its actual commander. 

2 These rowers puUed the longest oars and had the most responsible 


Men marveled at the boldness of the scheme, and the 
magnificence of the spectacle, which was everywhere 
spoken of ; no less than at the great disproportion of the 
force when compared with that of the enemy against whom 
it was intended. Never had a greater expedition been 
sent to a foreign land. Never was there an enterprise in 
which hope of future success seemed better justified by 
present power. 

When the ships were manned, and everything required 
for the voyage had been placed on board, silence was pro- 
claimed by sound of the trumpet, and all with one voice be- 
fore setting sail offered up the customary prayers. These 
were recited, not in each ship, but by a single herald, the 
whole fleet accompanying him. On every deck both officers 
and men mingled wine in the bowls, and made libations 
from vessels of gold and silver. The multitude of citizens 
and other well-wishers who were looking on from the land 
joined in the prayer. The crews raised the Psean, and when 
the libations were completed put out to sea. After sailing 
out for some distance in single file, the ships raced with one 
another as far as JSgina. Thence they hastened onwards 
to Corcyra, where the allies who formed the rest of the 
armament were assembling. 1 


Thucydides, book TO, chaps. 70-71. Jowett's Translation 

By September 413 B.O. the efforts of the Athenians to take 
Syracuse had failed absolutely, thanks more to the incapacity of 

1 The magnificence of the spectacle in the Piraeus can best be realized 
tfhen we remember that these ships 134 triremes and many smaller 
vessels were driven by oars. A single trireme pulling 85 oars to the 
side, tossing the foam with its bronze beak, its upper works glittering 
with bright steel and color, the flashing blades all pumiced white, and 
very likely with a huge orange square sail set was surely a wonderful sight ! 
What, then, must have been this vast armament at the havens of Athens? 


Nicias, their general, than to the valor of the defenders. The 
Syracusans had blockaded the harbor, whence lay the sole chance 
of retreat for the Athenians by sea ; and the latter in desperation 
strove to force the barriers and win an escape from the country 
they had come to conquer. Again Thucydides is at his best in his 
description of the contest, which he must have often heard re- 
hearsed by eyewitnesses. 

When the Athenians approached the closed mouth of the 
harbor, the violence of their onset overpowered the ships 
which were stationed there ; they then attempted to loosen 
the fastenings [with which the enemy had joined the ships 
which blockaded the harbor]. Whereupon from all sides 
the Syracusans and their allies came bearing down on them, 
and the conflict was no longer confined to the entrance, but 
extended throughout the harbor. No previous engagement 
had been so fierce and obstinate. Great was the eagerness 
with which rowers on both sides rushed upon their enemies 
whenever the word of command was given ; and keen was 
the contest between the pilots as they maneuvered against 
one another. The marines, too, were full bf anxiety that, 
when ship struck ship, their service on deck should not fall 
short of the rest ; every one in the place assigned to him 
was eager to be foremost among his fellows. 

The Actual Conflict 

Many vessels meeting and never did so many fight in 
so small a space, for the two fleets together amounted to nearly 
two hundred they were seldom able to strike in a regular 
manner, because they had no opportunity of first retiring or 
breaking the line; they generally fouled one another as 
ship dashed against ship in the hurry of flight or pursuit. 
All the time that another vessel was bearing down, the men 
on deck poured showers of javelins and arrows and stones 
upon the enemy ; and when the two closed the marines fought 


hand to hand, and endeavored to board. In many places, 
owing to want of room, they who had struck another found 
that they were struck themselves ; oft^n two or even more 
vessels were unavoidably entangled about one, and the pilots 
had to make plans of attack and defense not against one 
adversary only, but against several coming from different 

The crash of so many ships dashing against one another 
took away the wits of the sailors, and made it impossible to 
hear the boatswains, whose voices in both fleets rose high 
as they gave directions to the rowers, or cheered them on in 
the excitement of the struggle. On the Athenian side they 
were shouting to their men that they must force a passage 
and seize the opportunity, now or never, of returning in 
safety to their native land. To the Syracusans and their 
allies was represented the glory of preventing the escape of 
their enemies, and of a victory by which every man could 
exalt the honor of his city. 

The Agony of the Onlookers 

While the naval engagement hung in the balance, the two 
armies on shore had great trial and conflict of soul. The 
fortune of the battle varied ; and it was not possible that 
the spectators on the shore should all receive the same view 
of it. Being quite close and having different points of view, 
they would some of them see their own ships victorious ; 
their courage would then revive and they would call ear- 
nestly upon the gods " not to take from them their hope of de- 
liverance ! " But others, who saw their ships worsted, cried 
and shrieked aloud, and were by the sight alone more utterly 
unnerved than the defeated combatants themselves. Others 
again, who had fixed their gaze on some part of the struggle 
which was undecided, were in a state of excitement still 
more terrible ; they kept swaying their bodies to and fro 


in agony of hope and fear as the stubborn conflict went on 
and on; for at every instant they were all but saved or all 
but lost! 

The Athenians are Worsted 

While the strife thus hung in the balance you might hear 
in the Athenian army at once lamentation, shouting, cries 
of victory or defeat, and all the various sounds which are 
wrung from, a great host in extremity of danger. ETo less 
agonizing were the feelings of those on board. At length 
the Syracusans and their allies, after a protracted struggle, 
put the Athenians to flight, and triumphantly bearing down 
on them, and encouraging one another with loud cries and 
exhortations, drove them to land. Then [the remaining 
Athenian vessels], fell back in confusion to the shore, and 
their crews rushed out of their ships into the camp. And the 
latid forces uttering one universal groan of intolerable an- 
guish, ran, some to save the ships, others to defend what 
remained of the wall [guarding the camp] ; but the greater 
number began to look to themselves and to their own safety. 
Never had there been a greater panic in an Athenian army. 


Thucydides, book VII, chap. 87. Jowett's Translation 

After the failure to force their way from the harbor by sea, the 
Athenians tried to flee by land from Syracuse to some friendly 
Sicilian city. The roads were blocked ; they were surrounded and 
forced to surrender. Their terrible fate is here recounted. This 
was the epilogue to the drama begun when the great armada swept 
out of the cheering Piraeus two years previously. 

The Athenians imprisoned in the quarries were at first 
harshly treated by the Syracusans. There were great 
numbers of them, and they were crowded in a deep and 
narrow place. At first the sun by day was still scorching 


and suffocating, for they had no roof over their heads, while 
the autumn nights were cold and the extremes of tempera- 
ture engendered violent disorders. Being cramped for room, 
they had to do everything in the same spot. The corpses of 
those who died from wounds, exposure to the weather and 
the like lay heaped one upon another. The smells were in- 
tolerable; and they were at the same time afflicted by 
hunger and thirst. During eight months they were allowed 
only about half a pint of water and a pint of food per day. 
Every kind of misery which could befall a man in such a 
place, befell them. This was the condition of all the 
captives for about ten weeks. At length the Syracusans 
sold [a part of them into slavery]. 

Xenophon, " Hellenica," book II, chap. 1. Bohn Translation 

In 405 B.C. the gallant and partially successful resistance of 
the Athenians after the awful Syracusan disaster came to an end 
in the final disaster of JEgospotami. It was caused more by the 
gross blundering of the Athenian admirals than by the ability 
of Lysander, the Spartan commander. With this inglorious and 
absolute defeat ended the mighty sea power that had been created 
by Themistocles, and which had kept the JEgean so long in awe. 

The Athenians sailing in the track [of Lysander's Spartan 
armament] came to anchor at Elens in the [Thracian] Cher- 
sonesus with 180 ships. Whilst they were taking their 
breakfast there, the news came of what had just happened at 
Lampsacus [how Lysander had taken it], and instantly they 
pushed out to Sestus. Thence, after provisioning their ships, 
away they went to ^Egospotami over against Lampsacus ; the 
Hellespont at this point being some fifteen stadia across 
[about one and two thirds miles]. There they made ready 
their evening meal The next day, when dawn was break- 
ing, Lysander ordered his men to breakfast and go on ship- 
board. After making ready for a battle ... he ordered 


that no one should stir from his position, or put out to sea. 
The Athenians at sunrise were drawn up by the harbor with 
a close front, ready to engage, but when Lysander did not 
attack them, and it was growing late, they sailed back to 
JSgospotami. Lysander ordered his fastest ships to scout 
after the Athenians, and when they had landed to observe 
what they did, then report back to him. He acted thus for 
four days, while the Athenians continued putting out against 
him [for battle]. 

[Alcibiades living in exile in a fortress on the shore cau- 
tioned the Athenian admirals that they were not in a good 
position, and advised them to remove to Sestus, but the 
admirals] . . . told him to " go away, for they were in com- 
mand now, not he " : and accordingly he departed. 

Lysander entraps the Athenians into Battle 

So on the fifth day the Athenians sailed out against 
Lysander, and he ordered his scouts which followed them, 
that when on the return of the Athenians, they saw them 
landed, and dispersed about the Chersonesus, for they did 
so much more every day, having to buy their provisions at a 
distance, and getting to despise Lysander for not attacking 
them, the scouts should at once sail again to him, and lift 
up a shield [as signal] when they were halfway back. 

These commands they executed. Immediately Lysander 
gave the signal for his fleet to sail at its uttermost speed. 
. . . Conon [the Athenian admiral] on seeing him coming 
gave orders to " go on board the ships, and face the enemy 
with all one's might " : but, since his men were utterly 
dispersed, some of the [Athenian] ships had only two 
benches manned ; some had only one ; some were actually 
empty of men. Conon's own ship, and seven others near 
him, got to sea with their complement; also the Pardlus 1 ; 

iThe sacred state galley. 


but all the rest Lysander caught close by the land. He 
captured, too, most of the men ashore, though some fled to 
the fortified towns. 

Conon, escaping with his niue ships, when he found the 
cause of Athens was utterly blasted, landed at Abarnis, a 
headland of Lampsacus, and took away the large sails of 
Lysander's vessels, and then sailed away with eight ships to 
join Evagoras in Cyprus, while the Pardlus sped to Athens 
with the tidings of disaster. 

[Lysander, after his victory, put to death nearly all his 
prisoners that were Athenians in retaliation for certain 
alleged cruelties wrought by them.] 

The Terrible News reaches Athens 

At Athens on the arrival of the Paralus in the night, 
the tale of their disaster was told; and the lamentation 
spread from the Piraeus up the " Long Walls " into the city, 
one man passing the fell news to another ; and that night no 
man slept mourning not only their dead, but dreading 
even more the woes that they themselves must suffer, such 
woes as they had inflicted on the Melians a colony of 
Lacedsemon, whom they had starved out, and on the 
JSginetans, and so many others among the Greeks. 

Euripides, " Orestes," 1. 866 ff. Way's translation 

No person was a sharper critic of all things of his age than the 
great radical and skeptic the Athenian tragedian Euripides. In 
the " Orestes/' under the guise of describing the public assembly con- 
vened at Argos to try the case of Orestes, the son of Agamemnon 
( accused of slaying his mother, who in turn had murdered his 
father, her husband ), he draws an unsparing picture of assemblies 
in Athens where the fickle and shallow-thinking multitude and the 
time-serving demagogues often ignored the claims of real wisdom 
and justice. 


A Messenger [speaking to the waiting Electra, the sister of 

It chanced that I was entering the gates 
Out of the country, fain to learn thy state, 
And of Orestes : for unto thy sire 
Aye was I loyal : thine house fostered me, 
A poor man, yet true hearted to his friends. 

Then throngs I saw to seats on yon height climb 
Where first, as men say, Danaus, by JSgyptus 
Impeached, in general session gathered us ; 
Marking the crowd, I asked a citizen 
" What news in Argos ? Hath a bruit of foes 
Startled the city of the Danai'ds ? " 
But he, " Dost thou not mark Orestes there 
Draw near to run the race whose goal is death ?" 
Would I had ne'er seen that unlooked-for sight 
Pylades with thy brother moving on ; 
This, sickness-palsied, with down-drooping head ; 
That, as a brother, in his friend's affliction 
Affected, tended like a nurse the sick. 

When now the Argive gathering was full, 
A herald rose and cried "Who fain would speak 
Whether Orestes ought to live or die 
For matricide ? " Talthybius thereupon 
Eose, helper of thy sire when Troy was sacked, 
He spake subservient ever to the strong 
Half-heartedly, extolling high thy sire, 
But praising not thy brother ; intertwined 
Fair words and foul " that he laid down a law 
Eight ill for parents " ; so was glancing still 
With flattering eye upon JEgisthus's friends. 
Such is the herald tribe ; lightly they skip 
To fortune's minion's side ; their friend is he 
Who in a state hath power and beareth rule. 


Next after him Prince Diomedes spake. 

Thee nor thy brother would he have them slay, 

But exile you, of reverence to the Gods. 

Then murmured some that good his counsel was ; 

Some praised it not. 

Thereafter rose up one 
Of tongue unbridled, stout in impudence, 
An Argive, yet no Argive, 1 thrust on us ; 
In bluster, and coarse-grained fluency confident, 
Still plausible to trap the folk in mischief ; 
For when an evil heart with winning tongue 
Persuades the crowd, ill is it for the state ; 
Whoso with understanding counsel well 
Profit the state ere long, if not straightway. 
Thus ought we on each leader of men to look, 
And so esteem ; for both be in like case, 
The speaker and [the hearers of the speech]. 
Thee and Orestes he bade stone to death. 
But Tyndareus still prompted him with words 
That best told, as he labored for your death. 

To plead against him, then another rose, 
No dainty presence, but a manful man, 
In town and market circle seldom found, 
A yeoman, such as are the land's one stay, 
Yet shrewd in grapple of words, when this [had need], 
A stainless man who lived a blameless life, 
He moved that they should crown Agamemnon's son 
Orestes, since he had dareol avenge his sire, 
Slaying the wicked and the godless wife 
Who sapped our strength ; none would take shield on arm 
Or would forsake his home to march to war, 
If men's house warders be seduced the while 
By stayers at home, and [marriage] be defiled. 

l The poet means a man who had obtained citizenship by dubious meth- 
ods, a slap possibly at some noisy orator at Athens. 


To honest men he seemed to speak right well ; 
And none spake after. Then thy brother rose 
And said, " Lords of the land of Inachus, 
Of old Pelasgians, later Danaus's sons, 
'Twas in yonr cause, no less than in my sire's 
I slew my mother, for if their lord's blood 
Shall bring no guilt on wives, make haste to die ; 
Else must ye live in thraldom to your wives, 
And transgress against all rightfulness. 
For now the traitress to my father's couch 
Is dead ; but if ye shall indeed slay me, 
Law is annulled ; better men died straightway ; 
Since for no crime shall wives be lacking now." 

They would not hear, though well he spake, meseemed. 
That knave prevailed, who to the mob appealed, 
"Who called on them to slay thy brother and thee. 
Hapless Orestes scarce could gain the boon 
By stoning not to die. By his own hand 
He pledged him to leave life on this same day 
With thee. Now from the gathering Pylades 
Brhigeth him weeping ; and his friends attend 
Lamenting with strong crying. 1 . . . Thy princely birth 
Nought hath availed thee, nor the [oracle of] King 
Apollo, tripod-throned ; nay, [it] ruined thee ! 2 


Aristophanes, " The Wasps," 11. 520 ff., adapted from the Bohn Translation, 
vol. I, p. 204 

In Aristophanes's "Wasps" about 422 B.O. a keenly critical picture 
is drawn of the characters who haunted the Attic jury courts, got 
themselves put on the list of dicasts as often as possible, and 
followed the fine points of the trial with acumen and delight ; but 

iThe average Greek saw nothing improper in weeping in public, and 
indulging otherwise in actions now counted unmanly. 

2 The mere fact that Orestes and his sister were royal-born made a demo- 
cratic assembly more pitiless. 


who were nevertheless open to all sorts of illicit appeals and influ- 
ences. Probably in most cases, however, substantial justice was 
done, although the chance for personal prejudice and motive was 
dangerously large. At least knaves did not escape on mere techni- 

[Philocleon, the old Dicast, speaks] 

Now I will set forth from the beginning our dominion 
[as dicasts], for it is inferior to no other sovereignty. For 
what animal is to-day more happy or enviable, more luxu- 
rious or terrible than a dicast ? Especially an old veteran 
[in the work] ? [A tall litigant] lays his hand gently 
upon me as I [approach the court in the morning], and 
bowing low supplicates me with piteous voice, " Pity me, 
father : I beseech you, if ever you yourself stole anything 
when you held a public office, or while on military service you 
had to make purchases for your messmates." And he [this 
suppliant] wouldn't have known that I was so much as alive, 
but for his former acquittal ? 

Then when I have entered the court after being entreated, 
and having had my anger wiped away, when once inside I 
don't do a thing that I have promised; but I just listen to 
them spouting their eloquence, begging for an acquittal ! 

Ah ! Let me see what flattery is there that a dicast 
can't hear at the court? Some lament their poverty and 
add [feigned] ills to real ones, until by grieving they make 
their griefs equal to mine : others tell us mythical 
stories ; others some merry jest from JSsop ; others utter 
jokes to make me laugh and lay aside my anger. And if 
these means don't win us over, at once the litigant drags 
in his children, hand in hand, daughters and sons, while I 
harken to him. They bend down their heads together, and 
all bleat at once; then their father all a-tremble, suppli- 
cates me as if I were a god, in their behalf, to "Acquit for 
tfieir sakes!" "If you are moved by the voice of your 


lamb [at home], pity the voice of my son!" But if again 
[he thinks] I enjoy my little pigs [i.e. children] he beseeches 
me to be won over by the voice of his daughter. Then 
we relax the " peg of our wrath " just a little bit for him ! 
Isn't this a fine empire ! 

Likewise -when the youths undergo the scrutiny, then 
our presence is required. 1 And if JSagrus 2 enter court as a 
defendant, he doesn't escape until he recites to us a passage 
from the Niobe, some part picked out as the finest. And 
if a flute player gains his suit, our fee for this is that he 
play the finale for us dicasts as we leave the court. Also if 
a father, who dies leaving an heiress, give her [by will] in 
marriage to any one, we first bid a long farewell to the 
testament and the solemnly sealed evidence, and hand the 
heiress over to the man who has won us by his entreaties. 
We aren't held responsible for what we do, though all the 
other magistrates are ! 

Moreover, the Council [of 500] and the Assembly, when 
they have trouble in settling any case, vote to hand the 
offenders over to us dicasts. Even Cleon the conqueror 8 of 
all at bawling [in public], alone spares us from criticism, 
but watches over us [tenderly], " holding us in his hands 
and keeping off the flies." 

But the best thing of all I had nigh forgotten. When I 
come home [at night] with my fee, then all the family run 
to greet me for the money's sake. First of all my daughter 
washes and anoints me, and stooping over me gives me a 
kiss, and, wheedling me, at the same time fishes out the 
three-obol piece [9 cents] with her tongue. 4 Then my little 
woman having won me over with her flattery brings me a 
nice barley-cake and then sitting down by my side con- 

1 Young men at 20 had to satisfy a court as to their fitness for Athenian 
citizenship. 2 A famous tragic actor. 

* Cleon was Aristophanes's especial aversion. 
4 Greeks very commonly carried a coin by putting it in their cheek. 


strains me, saying, "eat this," "gobble that." Do I not 
hold a mighty empire, not inferior to that of Zeus ? 

[At an earlier point in the drama the chorus of dicasts is made 
to say :] 

Assuredly Philocleon used to be by far the fiercest in our 
company, and alone of us not to be persuaded. Whenever 
any one supplicated him, he used to bend his head down 
thus [imitating"] and say, " You are boiling a stone." x . . . 
Come, good friend, get up [and come out of your house,] for 
a wealthy comrade of the knaves who betrayed our interests 
in Thrace is come to trial. Take care that you duly dis- 
grace him, and verily make an end of him. 

Diogenes Laertius, " Life of Socrates." Bonn's Translation 

Most of our information as to Socrates's teachings and philoso- 
phy comes from his great pupils Plato and Xenophon, but for 
the small personalia we are largely dependent upon the decidedly 
dry biographer, Diogenes Laertius (about 200 A.D.), who is worth- 
less as an interpreter of Socrates's life work, but who gives us 
a good many anecdotes and stories like the following. 

Socrates was the son of Sophroniscus, a sculptor, and 
of Phsenarete, a midwife. He was a citizen of Athens, of 
the deine of Alopece. 

[At first he is said to have been a sculptor and] some 
say that the "Graces" on the Acropolis are his work. 
Demetrius of Byzantium says it was Criton 2 who made him 
quit his workshop and instruct men, out of the admiration 
which he conceived for his abilities. 

Socrates then perceiving that natural philosophy had 
no immediate bearing upon our interests, began to ente] 
into moral speculations both in his workshop and in the 

1 You are doing something wholly in vain. 
* A wealthy Athenian and friend of Socrates. 


market place. And he said that the objects of his search were 
" Whatever good or harm can befall man in his own house." 

And very often while arguing or discussing points that 
arose, he was treated with great violence and beaten, and 
pulled about, and laughed at and ridiculed by the multitude. 
But he bore this with great equanimity, so that once, when 
he had been kicked and buffeted about, and had borne it 
all patiently and some one expressed surprise, he said, 
" Suppose an ass had kicked me, would you have me bring 
an action against him ? " 

He had no need of traveling though most philosophers 
did travel except when he was bound to serve in the 
army. But all the rest of his life he remained in the same 
place, and in an argumentative spirit he used to dispute 
with all who would converse with him; not with the 
purpose of taking away their opinions from them, so much 
as of learning the truth, so far as he could do so, himself. 

He was a man of great firmness of mind and much 
attached to the democratic government [of Athens], as was 
made plain by his not submitting to Critias, 1 when he ordered 
him to bring Leon of Salamis, a very rich man, before the 
" Thirty " for the purpose of being murdered. 

He was a contented and venerable man. Once when 
Alcibiades offered him a large piece of ground to build 
a house upon, he said, " But if I wanted shoes, and you 
had given me a piece of leather to make myself shoes, I 
should be laughed at if I took it. " And often when he 
beheld the multitude of things which were being sold, he 
would say to himself, " How many things there are which 
I do not want ! " 

Socrates and Xanthippe 

[He was twice married ; the better known of his wives wai 
the famous Xanthippe]. 

i The notorious chief of the " Thirty Tyrants " who held Athens 404 tc 
403 B.C. * 3 A friend and pupil. 


He said once to Xanthippe, -who first abused him and 
then threw water at him, " Did I not say that Xanthippe 
was thundering now, and would soon rain?" When 
Alcibiades said to him, " The abusive temper of Xanthippe 
is intolerable:" he rejoined, "But I amused to it, just as 
if I were always hearing the noise of a pulley, and you 
yourself endure to hear geese cackling." Once she attacked 
him in the Agora and tore his cloak off; his friends ad- 
vised him to keep her off with his hands. " Yes, by Zeus," 
he said, " so that while we are boxing, you may all cry out, 
< Well done, Socrates ! ' < Well done, Xanthippe ! 9 " And 
he used to say that one ought to live with a restive 
woman, just as horsemen manage violent-tempered horses ; 
"and as they," said he, "when they have once mastered 
them, are easily able to manage all others ; so I, after 
managing Xanthippe, can easily live with any one else 

Details of Socrates? s Trial 

[At his trial] the sworn information on which the prose- 
cution proceeded, were drawn up in this fashion. . . . 
"Melitus, the son of Melitus of Pittea, impeaches Socrates, 
son of Sophroniscus of Alopece : Socrates is guilty inas- 
much as he does not believe in the gods which the state 
worships, but introduces other strange deities : he is also 
guilty, inasmuch as he corrupts the young men; and the 
punishment he has incurred is death." 

When the trial proceeded, it is said that Plato ascended 
the tribune, and said, "I, men of Athens, being the youngest 
of all who have mounted the tribune " [but here] he 
was interrupted by the dicasts, who cried out Katabdntdn! 
that is to say " Come down ! " * 

So when Socrates had been condemned by 281 votes, 
being sixty more than were given in his favor ; and when, 
lOome down from the orator's stand, and stop talking. . 


the dicasts began making an estimate of what punishment 
or fine should be inflicted upon him, he said he ought to 
be fined 25 drachmae [something under $5.00], but Euba- 
lides says that he admitted he deserved a fine of 100. And 
when the dicasts raised an outcry at this proposition, he 
said, " My real opinion is that as a return for what has been 
done by me, I deserve a maintenance a* the Prytaneium 
[city hall] for the rest of my life." 

Under these circumstances they condemned him to death, 
by 80 votes more than they had originally found him guilty. 
And he was put in prison, and a few days afterward he drank 
the hemlock, 1 having held many admirable conversations in 
the meantime, which Plato has recorded in the " Phaedo." 


Plato, " Meno." Jowetf s Translation 

Socrates made a great contribution to the science of correct 
thinking by insisting on ultimate and satisfactory definitions of all 
important terms and ideas. The method by which he exposed the 
hollowness of pretended wisdom, by means of a series of seemingly 
very innocent questions, is shown in a scant measure in the follow- 
ing abstract from one of Plato's shorter dialogues, in which the 
general Socratic method surely is preserved accurately. It need 
hardly be said that the " Sophists " (i.e. men who professed to be 
able to impart every kind of wisdom) were not made to love 
Socrates by this process. In the present dialogue Socrates is 
questioning Meno, who claims to have the key to " virtue." 

Socrates. By the gods, Meno, be generous and tell me 
what you say that virtue is ; for I shall be truly delighted 
to find that I have been mistaken, and that you and Gorgias 
[the famous sophist] do really have this knowledge j although 

* Drinking the juice of poisonous hemlock was the regular method of 
execution at Athens. The poison seems to have numbed the victim 
gradually, and its action was relatively humane and painless. 


I have been just saying that I have never found anybody 
who had. 

Meno. There will be no difficulty, Socrates, in answering 
your question. Let us first take the virtue of a man he 
should know how to administer the state, and in the admin- 
istration of it ' to benefit his friends and harm his enemies ; 91 
and he must also be careful not to suffer harm himself. [A. 
woman has corresponding housewifely virtues. , . .] Every 
age, every condition of life, young or old, male or female, 
bond or free, has a different virtue; there are virtues num- 
berless, and no lack of definitions of them ; for virtues are 
relative to the actions and ages o'f each of us in all we do. 
And the same may be said of vice, Socrates. 

Socrates. How fortunate I am, Meno. When I ask you 
for one virtue, you present me with a swarm of them, which 
are in your keeping. Suppose that I carry on the figure of 
the swarm and ask of you, " What is the nature of the bee ? " 
and you answer that there are many kinds of bees, and 
I reply, " But do bees differ as bees, because there are many 
and different kinds of them ; or are they not rather to be 
distinguished by some other quality, as for example, beauty, 
size, or shape ? " How would you answer me ? 

[After pressing a little more, Meno admits that not an enumer- 
ation of different virtues, but a common definition of virtue is 
what is needed.] ^ 

Meno. Will yoi/hVve but one definition of them all ? 

Socrates. That is what I am seeking. 

Meno. If you want to have one definition of them all, I 
know not what to say, but that virtue is the power of govern- 
ing mankind. 

[Socrates now induces Meno to admit that this cannot describe 
the virtue of all, e.g. of children or slaves ; unless the words 
"justly " and "not unjustly " are added, which would be arguing 

iThe true Hellenic substitute for the Golden Rule. 


in a circle, for these words would have to be explained. Meno 
then mentions various recognized virtues, e.g. courage, etc. But 
that brings the old difficulty, so he tries again.] 

Meno. Well, then, Socrates, virtue is when he who desires 
to be honorable is able to provide it for himself; so the 
poet says, and I say too : 

"Virtue is the desire of things honorable, and the power of 
attaining them." 

[Socrates promptly shows that all men really desire the honor- 
able ; so nothing is left of the definition but " the power of attain- 
ing it." To make this satisfactory for explaining " virtue " one 
must add, " of attaining it with justice " again arguing in a 
circle. Meno gives up in desperation.] 

Meno. Socrates, I used to behold, before I knew you, 
that you were always doubting yourself, and making others 
doubt ; and now you are casting your spell over me, and I 
am simply getting bewitched and enchanted and am at my 
wits' end. And if I venture to make a jest upon you, you 
seem to me, both in your appearance and in your power, to 
be like the flat torpedo fish, who torpifies those who come 
near him and touch him, as you have now torpified me, I 
think. For my soul and my tongue are really torpid, and I 
do not know how to answer you ; and though I have been 
delivered of an infinite variety of speeches about virtue be- 
fore ao w, and to many persons, and very good ones they 
were, as I thought, at this moment I cannot even say 
what virtue is. 


Plato, " Apology of Socrates." Jowett's Translation 

Socrates's defense of himself and of the life he had lived, as re- 
corded by his pupil Plato, is one of the great documents of the 
ages, and no abridgment can do it justice. It should be read 


entire by every educated man or woman. Although the " Apology * 
comes to us from the pen of Plato, there seems no good reason to 
believe that he has failed to report substantially what Socrates 
said at his trial in 399 B.C. 

I [Socrates] will sum up the accusations against me in an 
affidavit, " Socrates is an evildoer, and a curious person 
who searches into things under the earth and in heaven, 
and makes the worse appear the better cause; and he 
teaches the aforesaid doctrines to others." But the simple 
truth is, Athenians, that I have nothing to do with these 
studies. Very many here present are witnesses to the 
truth of this, and to them I appeal. 

As little foundation is there for the report that I am a 
teacher and take money [from my pupils]. This is no 
more true than the other. Although if a man is able to 
teach, I honor him, for being paid. There is Gorgias of 
Leontini, and Prodicus of Ceos, and Hippias of Elis, who go 
the round of the cities, and are able to persuade the young 
men to leave their own citizens, by whom they might be 
taught for nothing, and come to them, whom they not only 
pay, but are thankful if they may be allowed to pay them. 
There is actually a Parian philosopher residing in Athens 
of whom I have heard; and I came to hear him in this way. 
I met a man who has spent a world of money on the Soph- 
ists Callias, son of Hipponicus, and knowing he had sons 
I asked him: "Callias," I said, "if your two sons were foals 
or calves, there would be no difficulty in finding some one to 
put over them; we should hire a trainer of horses, or a 
farmer probably, who would improve and perfect them in 
their own proper virtue and excellence, but as they are 
human beings, whom are you thinking of placing over 
them? Is there any one who understands human and 
political virtue ? " 

" There is," he said. 


u Who is lie ? " said I, " and of what country ; and what 
does he charge ? " 

"Evenus the Parian/ 5 he replied, "he is the man, and his 
charge is five minae" [about $90.00]. 

Happy is Evenus, I said to myself, if he really has the 
wisdom, and teaches for such a modest charge ! Had I the 
same, I should hare been very proud and conceited ; but 
the truth is I have no knowledge of the kind, Athenians. 

WTiat the Delphic Orade said of Socrates 

I will refer you to a witness who is worthy of credit and 
will tell you about my wisdom, whether I have any and 
of what sort, and that witness shall be the God of Delphi. 
You must have known Chserephon ; he was early a friend of 
mine. Well, Chserephon, as you know, was very impetuous 
in all his doings, and he went to Delphi, and boldly asked 
the oracle to tell him whether as I was saying I must beg 
you not to interrupt 1 he asked the oracle to tell him 
" whether there was any one wiser than I was ? " And the 
Pythian prophetess answered there was no man wiser. 

When I heard the answer, I said to myself, What can the 
god mean ? for I know I have no wisdom small or great. 
Yet he is a god and cannot lie, that would be against his 
nature. After long consideration, I at last thought of a 
method of trying the question. I reflected that if I could 
only find a man wiser than myself I might go to the god 
with the refutation in my hand. 

[Socrates, however, after a long search could not find a 
truly wise man: many pretended to wisdom in some matters; 
but when the arguments of each were run down, they were 
clearly unsound], although he was thought wise by many, 
and still wiser by himself. And I s swear to you Athenians, 
by the dog 2 1 swear ! for I must tell the truth, the result 

* Athenian juries were by no means courteous in listening to pleaders. 

* A favorite oath of Socrates. 


of my mission was just this : I found that men most in re. 
pute were all but the most foolish; and that some inferior 
men were really wiser and better. [The Sophists, politicians, 
poets, and even artisans were all in like condemnation for 
their self-conceit.] . . . And the truth is, Athenians, that 
God only is wise, and in the oracle he means to say that the 
wisdom of man is little or nothing; he is not speaking of 
Socrates, he is only using my name as an illustration, as if 
he said, " He, Men, is the wisest, who like Socrates knows 
that his wisdom is in truth worth nothing." 

Socratetfs Mission in Life 

And so I go on my way, obedient to the god, and make 
inquisition into the wisdom of any one, whether citizen or 
stranger, who appears to be wise ; and if he is not wise, then 
in vindication of the oracle, I show him that he is not wise ; 
and this occupation quite absorbs me, and I have no time to 
give either to any public matter of interest or to any concern 
of my own ; for I am in utter poverty by reason of my de- 
votion to the god. 

There is another thing the young men of the richer 
classes, who have not much to do, come to me of their own 
accord ; they like to hear the pretenders examined, and they 
often imitate me and examine others themselves ; there are 
plenty of persons, as they soon discover, who think that 
they know something, but really know little or nothing; 
and then those who are examined by them instead of being 
angry with themselves are angry at me : " This confounded 
Socrates ! " they say, "this villainous misleader of youth !" 
and then if somebody asks them, " Why, what evil does he 
practice and teach ? " They do not know and cannot tell, 
[but trump up charges of] teaching things up in the clouds 
and under the earth, and having no gods, and " making the 
worse appear the better cause," for they do not like to 


confess that their pretense to knowledge is detected. 
[And these are the people who have been supporting the 
prosecution against me.] 


Plato, "Apology of Socrates." Jowett's Translation 

The noblest part of Socrates's defense is the conclusion ad- 
dressed, after the vote of condemnation, to that large minority of 
his judges who voted for his acquittal. It is hard, even veiled in 
translation, and after the lapse of twenty-three centuries, to read 
it without some responding emotion. 

Let us reflect, and we shall see that there is great reason 
to hope that death is good, for it is one of two things: either 
death is a state of nothingness or utter unconsciousness, or, 
as men say, there is a change and migration of the soul from 
this world to another. Kow if you suppose that there is no 
consciousness, but a sleep like the sleep of him who is un- 
disturbed even by the sight of dreams, death will be an un- 
speakable gain. For if a person were to select the night in 
which his sleep was undisturbed even by dreams, and were 
to compare with this the other days and nights of his life, 
and then were to tell us how many days and nights he had 
passed in the course of his life, better and more pleasantly 
than this one, I think that any man, I will not say a private 
man, but even the Great King will not find many such days 
or nights when compared with the others. Now if death is 
like this, I say that to die is gain, for eternity is then only 
a single night. 

But if death is a journey to another place, and where, as 
men say, all the dead are, what good, my friends and 
judges, can be greater than this ? If indeed when the pil- 
grim arrives in the world below, he is delivered from the 
[mere] professors of justice in this world, and finds the true 
judges who are said to give judgment there, Minos and 


Bhadamanthus and JEacus and Triptolemus, and other sons 
of God who were righteous in their own life, that pilgrimage 
will be worth the making ! 

What would not a man give if he might converse with 
Orpheus and Musseus 1 and Hesiod and Homer? Kay, if 
that be true, let me die again and again. I, too, shall have 
a wonderful interest in a place where I can converse with 
Palamedes and Ajax, the son of Telamon, and other heroes 
of old, who have suffered death through an unjust judgment ; 
and there will be no small pleasure, as I think, in comparing 
my own sufferings with theirs. Above all, I shall be able to 
continue my search for true and false knowledge 5 as in this 
world, so also in that ; I shall find out who is wise and who 
pretends to be wise and is not. 

What would not a man give, judges, to be able to ex- 
amine the leader of the great Trojan expedition? Or 
Odysseus or Sisyphus or numberless others, men and women 
too 1 What infinite delight there would be in conversing 
with them and asking them questions ! For in that world 
they do not put a man to death, certainly not, For be- 
sides being happier in that world than in this, they will be 
immortal, if what is said is true. 

Wherefore, judges, be of good cheer about death, and 
know this of a truth, that no evil can happen to a good 
man either in this life or after death. He and his are not 
neglected by the gods : nor has my own approaching end 
happened by mere chance. 

The hour of departure has arrived and we go our ways 
I to die and you to live. Which is the better, God only 

1 A mythological personage famous as poet and giver of oracles. 



Aristophanes, " The Clouds," 1. 940 ft., adapted from the Bohn Translation, 
vol. I, p. 156 

The age of Pericles and the generation following was in every- 
thing an age of transition, and in nothing more than education. 
It was declared necessary to supplant the old accepted training of 
boys in reading, music, and gymnastics, with a course on dialetic and 
public speaking, especially with the view of making tonguey orators. 
In the comedy of the " Clouds " (about 423 B.C.) Aristophanes 
holds the " New School " of education, its teachers and methods, 
up to ridicule not always deserved. Aristophanes is unjust, in 
this comedy, in representing Socrates as the champion of the 
Sophists and their new-fangled dialetic. 

[Situation: The " Just " and the " Unjust" arguments, personify- 
ing, respectively, the Old and the New-style (Socratic) education are 
trying each to persuade Phidippides, an Athenian youth, that their 
style of education is the best. The Chorus of " Clouds " is acting 
as a kind of umpire between the contestants.] 

Chorus. Cease from contention and railing I But show 
us, you of the old-style teaching, and you of the new-style, 
both of your respective systems, so that after this fellow 
has heard, he may decide which school to attend. [Both 
agree.] Well who's to speak first ? 

Unjust Argument. I'll give him the right of way, and 
then from the very facts he adduces Fll shoot him dead with 
new arguments and ideas. 

[Just Argument at length begins.] 

Just. I will now describe the old style of education ; how 
it was managed, when I prospered in the advocacy of justice, 
and when temperance was the fashion. First of all, not a 
boy ought to be heard uttering a syllable ; next, the boys in 
the same quarter of the town were obliged to march stripped 
and drawn up in order even if the snow was thick as meal 
to the house of the harp master. And there the master 


would teach them [some good old tune], not sitting crossed- 
legged as now, but raising to a mighty pitch those strains 
we learned from our fathers. If anybody acted silly or 
turned any quavers, like these difficult turns the artists make 
now after the style of Phrynis, 1 he used to get a good hard 
thrashing as " banishing the Muses ! " 

All the boys then had to sit with their clothes wrapped 
decently about them, and not to anoint themselves over-effem- 
inately, so that the body bore the aspect of blooming health. 
Nor used it to be allowed when one was dining to take the 
head of a radish, or snatch from one's elders dill or parsley, 
or eat fish, or giggle, or keep the legs crossed. 2 

[Unjust Argument here breaks in to intimate all this is " anti- 
quated and full of grasshoppers ! "] 

Just. Well surely this style of educating nurtured the men 
who fought at Marathon. But you teach fellows to-day from 
their earliest years to go wrapped up in their outer cloak 
[himation]. 8 So, my \>oy,[addressing Phidippides] select me 
with confidence: me, the better cause, then you'll learn 
to hate [hanging around] the Agora, and keep from baths, 
and to be ashamed at what's disgraceful, and get angry if 
any one jeers you; and rise from your seat before your 
elders when they approach, and not behave ill towards your 
parents, and do nothing else that is base, because you are to 
form in your mind an image of Modesty, and not dart into 
the house of a dancing woman, and not contradict your 
father in anything. 

[More interruptions and derision by Unjust Argument ; but his 
opponent continues.] 

And you're sure to spend your time in the wrestling 

1 An effeminate poet whom Aristophanes detested. 
2 Seemingly the height of 111 manners. 

8 It seemed the height of effeminacy for a young man always to go 
wrapped up like a grandsire. 


schools, sleek and blooming ; you won'tbe chattering rude jests 
in the Agora like the boys of to-day ; nor get dragged into 
court on some petty, knavish lawsuit. No ; on the contrary 
you shall descend to the Academy and run races beneath the 
sacred olives along with some modest comrade, crowned 
with white reeds, and fragrant with yew ; carelessly at ease, 
[or] crowned with the leaf-shedding white poplar, rejoicing in 
the season of spring, when the planetree whispers to the elm. 
If you do these things as I say, and devote your mind to 
them you'll ever have a brawny chest, a clear complexion, 
broad shoulders, a little tongue, large hips, and little 
vice. But if you do as the youth of to-day do, you'll have 
a pale complexion, small shoulders, a narrow chest, a large 
tongue, little hips, great vice, and a long public harangue. 
And this deceiver here, will persuade you to count every- 
thing that is base honorable, and everything that is honor- 
able to be base. 

[The Chorus thinks Just Argument has made out an excellent 
case : but Unjust Argument is not in the least abashed, and pro- 
ceeds to refute his opponent.] 

Unjust. He will not allow you to be washed in warm 
water j and yet why are warm baths to be criticized ? 

Just. Because they are most vile and make a man [effem- 
inate and] cowardly. 

Unjust. Stop ! Here I've caught you by the waist with 
no escape. Come, tell me, which of the sons of Zeus do you 
consider to have been the bravest in soul and to have under- 
gone the most labors ? 

Just. I count Heracles first. 

Unjust. And where, pray, did you ever see cold Heraclean 
baths ? And yet isn't he the most valiant ? 

Just. These are the very [kinds of hairsplitting] which 
make the baths full of young men all day long, but the pa- 
Isestras [wrestling schools] empty. 


Unjust. You next find fault with their living in the Agora ', 
but I commend it. If the thing had been bad, Homer would 
never have made Nestor an orator, nor all the other wise 
men. 1 Again, he says people ought to be modest : but tell 
me have you ever seen any good come through modesty ? 

[Just Argument here cites some examples from mythology 
which his opponent laughs to scorn. Unjust Argument now 
turns back to Phidippides.] 

Now consider, my fine fellow, all that modesty involves, 
and of how many pleasures you are going to be deprived by 
it of sweethearts, of games, especially of the cottabus 
game, 2 of dainties, of drinking bouts, of giggling. And yet 
what's life worth to you without these! Well, I'll pass 
to other things. Suppose you give way to some passion, 
and get caught in it. If you only associate with me, you 
can indulge your appetite all you please, dance, laugh, 
and think nothing disgraceful. If you're brought to account, 
why, you can just call up the case of Zeus,. even he is 
overcome by love and women. And yet how could you a 
mortal have greater rectitude than a god ? 

Just. But with what argument [after all] is he going to 
prove he isn't a blackguard ? 

Unjust. And suppose he is, where's the harm ? 

Just. Why, what worse could be, than just to be proved 
a blackguard ? 

Unjust. Whatfll you say, if I outargue you on this point ? 

Just. Fll keep still ; what else can I do ? 

Unjust. Well tell me now; from what class do the 
advocates come ? 

Just. From the blackguards. 

Unjust. Eight you are; and from what class come the 
tragedians ? 

1 Who exercised their powers, of course, in the market place. 

2 A favorite indoor pastime. See Dictionary of Antiquities* 


Just. From the blackguards. 

Unjust. Correct indeed ; and from what class come the 
public orators ? 

Just. From the blackguards. 

Unjust. Then you see you are getting confuted. And 
look you which class among the audience is the biggest ? 

Just. Well Fm looking. 

Unjust. And what do you see ? 

Just. By the gods ! The blackguards have a big major- 
ity ! This fellow, I know him : and yonder one, and 
that other fellow with the long hair. 

Unjust. Now what are you going to say ? 

Just. We are conquered. Ye blackguards, in the Gods' 
names, receive my cloak, 1 for I desert to you ! 


From the "Third Mime of Herondas." Quoted from a recently discov- 
ered papyrus by . J. Freeman, " The Schools of Hellas," pp. 98-100 

This quotation from a Greek author of the Alexandrian period 
(third century B.o.),is nevertheless in most respects true, probably, 
for the earlier classical period. It well illustrates the terrible 
cruelty which parents and teachers thought entirely necessary in 
dealing with school children. Surely if the ancient civilization 
failed, it was not through " sparing the rod " upon the younger 
generation ! 

[A mother, Metrotime', brings her truant boy Cottalus to his 
schoolmaster Lampriscus to receive a flogging.] 

Metrotim& Flog him Lampriscus, 
Across the shoulders, till his wicked soul 
Is all but out of him. He's spent my all 
In playing odd and even ; knuckle bones 
Are nothing to him. Why, he hardly knows 
The door of the Letter School. And yet the thirtieth 

i Referring to Socrates's usual ceremony of stripping his disciples be- 
fore they were initiated into his school. 


Comes round 1 and I must pay tears no excuse. 

His writing tablet which I take the trouble 
To wax anew each month, lies unregarded 
In the corner. If by chance he deigns to touch it 
He scowls like Hades, then puts nothing right 
But smears it out and out. He doesn't know 
A letter, till you scream, it twenty times. 
The other day his father made him spell 
Maron; the rascal made it Simon: dolt 
I thought myself to send him to a school ! 
Ass-tending is his trade! Another time 
We set him to recite some childish piece ; 
He sifts it out like water through a crack, 
" Apollo " pause, then " hunter ! " 

[The poor mother goes on to say that it is useless to scold the 
boy ; for, if she does, he promptly runs away from home, to sponge 
upon his grandmother, or sits upon the roof out of the way like an 
ape, breaking the tiles, which is expensive for his parents.] 

Yet he knows 

The seventh and the twentieth of the month, 
Whole holidays, as if he reads the stars, 
He lies awake o'nights dreaming of them. 

But, so may yonder Muses prosper you, 
Give him in stripes no less than 

Lampriscus [briskly]. Right you are, 
Here, Euthias, Coccalus, and Phillus hoist him 
Upon your backs. I like your goings on, 
My boy ! I'll teach you manners ! Where's my strap, 
With the stinging cow's tail ? 

Cottdlus [in terror]. By the Muses, 2 Sir, Not with the 
stinger ? 

Lamp. Then you shouldn't be so naughty. 

1 The time for paying the monthly school fees. 

2 The Moses were the proper deities to invoke in a school. 

347 B.C.] THE WILL OF PLATO 257 

Cott. 0, how many will you give me t 

Lamp. Your mother fixes that. 

Cott. How many, mother ? 

Metr. As many as your wicked hide can bear. 

[They proceed with the flogging] 

Cott. Stop ! That's enough ! Stop ! 

Lamp. You should stop your ways. 

Cott. Pll never do it more, I promise you. 

Lamp. Don't talk so much, or else I'll bring a gag, 

Cott. I won't talk, only do not kill me, please I 

Lamp, [at length relenting] Let him down, boys. 

Metr. No leather him till sunset. 

Lamp. Why, he's as mottled as a water snake. 

Metr. Well, when he's done his reading, good or bad, 

Give him a trifle more, say twenty strokes. 

Cott. [in agony]. Yah! 

Metr. [turning away]. Pll go home and get a pair of 


Our Lady Muses, whom he scorned, shall see 
Their scorner hobble here with shackled feet. 1 


Diogenes Laertius," Life of Plato." Bohn's Translation 

The philosophy of Plato Socrates's favorite pupil .did not 
prevent him from enjoying temporal comforts. The copy of bis 
will here given (he died in 347 B.C.) is interesting, both as show- 
ing that the author of the immortal " Dialogues " was possessed of 
a very tolerable worldly estate, and as an example generally of 

1 It is at least doubtful whether in good Athenian schools such brutali- 
ties as gags and fetters would he used. As to the cruel floggings, there is 
not the least doubt. " The soldiers felt towards him as schoolboys toward 
their master," wrote Xenophon (Anabasis, book II, chap. 6:12) of the 
Lacedaemonian general Clearchus, a man famous as a severe and forbid- 
ding martinet. 


how a Greek gentleman might dispose of his property. It also 
shows how carefully the Athenians had developed the questions of 
boundaries between private farms. 

Plato left this property, and has bequeathed it as fol- 
lows : The farm in the district of the Hephaestiades bounded 
on the north by the road from the temple of the Cephiciades 
and on the south by the temple of Heracles, which is in the 
district of the Hephaestiades ; and on the east by the es- 
tate of Arche stratus the Phrsenian, and on the west by 
the farm of Philip the Challidian, shall be incapable of be- 
ing sold or alienated, but shall belong to my son Ademantu's 
as far as possible. And so likewise shall my farm in the 
district of the Eiresides, which I bought of Callimachus, 
which is bounded on the north by the property of Euryme- 
don the Myrrhinusian, on the south by that of Demostratus 
of Xypeta, and on the east by that of Eurymedon the Myr- 
rhinusian, and on the west by the Cephisus [river], I also 
leave him [niy son] three ininsB of silver, a silver goblet, 
weighing 165 drachmae, and a golden earring, weighing to- 
gether four drachmae and three obols. Euclides the stone- 
cutter owes me three minse [payable to my heirs]. I leave 
Artemis [one of my female slaves] her liberty. My slaves 
Sychon, Bictas, Appolloniades, and Dionysus I bequeath 
to my son, and I also give him all my furniture, of which 
Demetrius has a list. I owe no one anything. My execu- 
tors shall be Tozthenes, Speusippus, Demetrius, Hegias, 
Eurymedon, Callimachus, and Thrasippus. 


Aristophanes, " Plutus," 1. 660 ff., adapted from the Bohn Translation, 
vol. II, p. 719 

The method of healing by means of a dream dictating the cure, 
or by a direct visit from the god, was claimed as a favorite remedy 
by the priests of Asclepeius, who posed as the heads of the medical 
profession. What their system was supposed to be, is explained 


in Aristophanes's comedy of " Plutus " (about 388 B.C.). The poet 
comes dangerously near to what to the pious would seem to be 
blasphemy. Whatever the comic aspects of the case, however, 
"sleeping in the temple" probably wrought a good deal of benefit 
as c healing by suggestion ' ; and the priests of Asclepeius were by 
no means mere charlatans. 

[Situation . The god Plutus (Riches) has been taken to the 
temple of Asclepeius, where he is healed of his blindness, and on 
the restoring of sight he is able to distribute his riches to those who 
deserve them. The process of healing is narrated by Oario, the 
slave of Ohremylus, who has undertaken the restoring of Plutus.] 

As soon as we came to the god [Asclepeius] conveying 
[this] man once so miserable, but now so blessed and fortu- 
nate, first we took him down to the sea and gave him a bath. 1 
Then we went up to the temple. And when our cakes and 
preparatory sacrifices had been pnt on the fire, we laid Plutus 
on a couch, as was the proper way, while each of us began 
putting his own mattress in order. 

Questioner. Wasn't there anybody else there, who needed 
the god? 

Carlo. Of course: Neoclides 2 was there, who is blind, 
but in stealing outdoes anybody who can see; and a lot 
more with all kinds of ills. But when the sacristan of the 
god put out the lamps, he ordered us to "go to sleep," and 
told us that anybody hearing a noise was to keep himself 
still : then we all laid down in an orderly way. But I just 
couldn't sleep. There was a pot of porridge, not far from 
the head of an old woman. [The smell] of it wrought on 
me mightily. I wanted extremely to creep [and get it]. 
Then on peeking out, I saw the priest snatching away the 
cakes and dried figs from the holy table. And then he made 
a round of all the altars, to see if there was a cake left; and 
then he "consecrated" these into a sack! And I im 

1 Interruptions by the interlocutor are here omitted. 

2 A character charged with embezzlement of public funds at Athens. 


agining this was vast piety got up closer towards the pot 
of porridge. 

Questioner. Daring fellow ! Weren't you afraid of the 

Cario. Yes, by all the gods I was lest he get the pot 
before me ! The old woman, when she heard my noise, 
reached out her hand, then I hissed and seized it with my 
teeth, as if I were one of Asclepeius's [holy] snakes. Back 
she drew her hand and lay down, wrapping herself up quietly, 
all in a fright. Then I bolted most of the porridge, and when 
I was chock full of it, I lay back to rest. 

[The god Asclepeius was now supposed to come in, inspect the 
patients, and decide upon their cure : Cario continues.] 

I covered myself up in fear, while he went the circuit in- 
specting all the patients carefully. Then a servant set be- 
fore him a small stone mortar, and a pestle and a small 

Questioner. Pest on you ! How did you see him if you 
were all wrapped up ? 

Carto. Through my little threadbare cloak, for, by Zeus, 
it's got a lot of holes ! First of all he began to pound up a 
plaster for Neoclides, having thrown in three heads of 
Teneian garlic. Then he began to beat them up in a mortar 
mixing along with them gum and squill; and then he 
moistened it with Sphettan vinegar, and spread it over [the 
patient's eyes], first turning his eyelids inside out that he 
might hurt him more. Neoclides, crying and bawling, 
jumped up and ran away, while the god laughed and ex- 
claimed : " Sit there now ; plastered all as you are ! Then 
you're stopped from excusing yourself by an oath from at- 
tending the Assembly." l 

After that he sat down beside Plutus. First he handled 
his head, and then he took a clean napkin and wiped all 

1 I.e. Now you have a valid excuse. 


round his eyelids. Also Panacea [Asclepeius's daughter 
and attendant] covered his head and the whole of his face 
with a purple cloth. Whereupon the god whistled, and 
two monstrous snakes rushed forth from the temple. 

Questioner. Oh, ye merciful gods ! 

Carlo. Well : these two snakes crept, gently under the 
purple cloth and began to lick his eyelids all around. At 
least so it seemed to me. Before you could have turned 
down ten pots of wine, Plutus was standing up, and could 
see all right! I clapped my hands with joy and began to 
wake my master. As for Asclepeius, he at once faded from 
sight, and the snakes whisked into the temple ; while as for 
those who were on the beds near by you can't imagine how 
they began to hug Plutus, and actually kept awake all night 
until the day dawned. Oh ! how I praise the god because 
he made Plutus see so quickly, and yet made Neoclides 
blinder than ever. 

[At this point a great crowd bring in Plutus, who speedily be- 
gins to scatter his benefits upon the deserving.] 


Translated in Felton's " Ancient and Modern Greece," vol. I, p. 195 

The early Greeks had only a very faint belief in immortality : 
the dead became " strengthless shades," mere shadows of their 
former selves in the drear underworld of Hades. In the fifth 
century B.O., however, we find the advanced thinkers of Greece 
devoting themselves earnestly to the eternal problem. It is likely 
that the famous " Mysteries " of Eleusis had their chief appeal in 
the hope which they extended to the righteous of a happy here- 
after ; and of a corresponding punishment for the wicked. What 
the great poet of Thebes conceived to be the lot of the good is 
illustrated in these lines. We have here also, even in translation, 
.a fairly good example of the extremely elaborate schemes of versi- 
fication employed by Pindar. 


O'er the good, soft suns the while 

Through the mild day and night serene, 
Alike with cloudless luster smile 

Tempering all the tranquil scene. 
Theirs is leisure ; vex not they 
Stubborn soil or watery way, 
To wring from toil, want's worthless bread; 
No ills they know, no tears they shed, 
But with the glorious gods below 

Ages of peace contented share. 
Meanwhile the bad, with bitterest woe, 

Eye-startling tasks and endless tortures bear. 
All those whose steadfast virtue thrice 

Each side the grave unchanged hath stood, 
Still unseduced, unstained with vice, 

They by Zeus's mysterious road 
Pass to Cronos's realm of rest, 
Happy isle that holds the blest, 
Where sea-born breezes gently blow 
O'er blooms of gold that round them glow, 
Which nature, boon from sea or strand 

Or goodly tree profusely showers; 
Whence pluck they many a fragrant band, 
And braid their locks with never fading flowers. 


From Felton's " Ancient and Modern Greece," vol. I, p. 412 ff. 

A modern writer, the late President Felton of Harvard Univer- 
sity, has given us this summary of Greek Medical Science, center- 
ing it around the work of Hippocrates (born about 460 B.C. at the 
island of Cos). Hippocrates was the most distinguished physi- 
cian of antiquity, and while modern surgeons and physicians 
would be horrified at some of his teachings, there is little doubt 
that, thanks to practical common sense, experience, and a profound 


knowledge of human nature, he and his disciples were able often 
to cure even complicated cases. Ancient medicine often degener- 
ated into the vilest quackery, but at its best it was far from 

The former notion that the ancients were ignorant of 
anatomy, except so far as a knowledge of it might be gained 
by examining the skeletons of animals, appears at present 
abandoned in its absolute form. It is true that the religious 
respect entertained for the bodies of the dead by the Greeks 
interfered with this study ; but there was a tradition that 
the Asclepiadse of Cos possessed a human skeleton, which 
was used in the instruction of their pupils, and which was 
finally bequeathed to the Temple of Apollo at Delphi. . . . 
The works of Hippocrates display a wonderfully minute 
knowledge of osteology; [but not of physiology]. . . . 
There were peculiar opportunities for surgical practice in 
Greece, so far as external wounds were concerned, ow- 
ing to the national passion for contests in the games. Acci- 
dents of a serious nature were constantly occurring ; and the 
services of a skillful surgeon in setting fractured bones and 
reducing dislocations were very often needed. The processes 
are minutely described [by Hippocrates] and in several cases 
are exactly the same as those in use at the present day. 

The description of the latreion, or Surgery, contains com- 
plete directions for the operator, the patient, and the assist- 
ants, the instruments, the adjustment of the light, the 
position of the patient, the kinds of bandages, etc., all told 
with a clearness and precision, which, to an unprofessional 
reader at least, appear very remarkable. Thus of bandaging 
Hippocrates says : 

"It should be done quickly, painlessly, neatly, and ele- 
gantly: quickly, by dispatching the work; painlessly, by 
being gently done; neatly, by having everything in readi- 
ness, and elegantly, so that it may be agreeable to the sight." l 
i No slight matter to a finicky Hellene. 


Again he says, " The suspending of a fractured limb in a 
sling, the disposition of it, and the bandaging, all have the 
object to keep it in place." 

Hippocrates was a keen observer; some of his aphorisms 
apply to more persons than physicians, thus : 

" Life is short, art is long ; the occasion fleeting, experi- 
ment is fallacious, and judgment difficult. The physician 
must be prepared not only to do what is right himself, but 
to make the patient and the attendants cooperate." 

"Old persons endure fasting most easily; next adults, 
young persons not nearly so well ; least of all infants ; and 
least of them, those that are of a particularly lively spirit." 

" Both sleep and wakefulness when immoderate are bad." 

"Neither repletion nor fasting, nor anything else is good 
when more than natural," 

" When in a state of hunger one ought not to undertake 
hard work." 

" Persons who are naturally very fat are apt to die earlier 
than those who are slender." 

Hippocrates also gives sample cases which he has treated, 
and reports the symptoms, e.g. : 

" Criton of Thasos, while still on foot, and going about, 
was seized with a violent pain in the great toe ; took to his 
bed the same day ; at night was delirious. On the second 
day, swelling of the whole foot and acute fever; became 
furiously deranged ; died the second day from the beginning." 

" In Thasos, Philistes had a headache of long continuance, 
and sometimes was confined to his bed, with a tendency to 
deep sleep ; having been seized with continual fevers from 
deep drinking, the pain was exacerbated. ... On the second 
day deafness; acute fever . . . delirium about midday. 
On the third was in an uncomfortable state. On the fourth 
convulsions; all the symptoms exacerbated. On the fifth 
early in the morning he died." 



Xenophon, "The. Economist," VH, Dakyn's Translation, vol. HI, part 1, 
p. 225 ff. 

What the life of a high-bred Athenian lady was conceived to 
be at its best is set forth in this charming pen picture drawn 
by Xenophon, the well-known pupil of Socrates. Athenian 
women were held in careful repression. Komantic marriages 
were almost out of the question. Nevertheless, the position of 
a lady of good family was not an undignified one, and she was 
far from being merely the inmate of an Oriental harem. Very 
likely she would be given in marriage by her parents when she 
was too young to have any intelligent will of her own. Her 
husband was usually a mature man who would hardly look to 
his girl wife for any form of intellectual companionship. If, how- 
ever, he was a man of truly refined instincts, it is probable enough 
he would come to treat his wife with much consideration and 
calm affection, and shield her from any kind of indignity. Of 
course in this essay Xenophon is setting forth what he conceives 
to have been an ideal marital relation : still he is drawing an ideal 
he assumes to be capable of realization in matter-of-fact Athens, 
not in a distant Utopia. Incidentally this extract gives consider- 
able insight into the management of Attic homes early in the 
fourth century B.C. 

The story is supposed to be narrated by Socrates. 

It chanced one day that I saw my friend Ischomachus 
seated in the portico of Zeus Eleutherios [in the Athenian 
agora], and as he seemed to be at leisure I went up to him, 
and sitting down by his side, accosted him : " How is 
this ? As a rule, when I see you, you are doing something, 
or at any rate not sitting idle in the market place." 

" Nor would you see me now so sitting, Socrates," said 
he, " except that I had promised to meet some strangers, 
friends of mine, here." 

" And when you are not so employed," said I, " where, 
in heaven's name, do you spend your time, and how do you 


employ yourself ? I am truly very anxious to know from 
your own lips by what conduct you have earned for your- 
self the title < beautiful and good ' ? " 

[Ischomachus laughed at the compliment, and said that 
when he was called on for any public service] " nobody thinks 
of asking for the * beautiful and good ' gentleman, it is plain 
c Ischomachus the son of so-and-so' on whom the process 
is served. But I certainly . . . do not spend my days indoors, 
if for no other reason than because my wife can manage all 
our domestic affairs without my aid." 

" Ah ! " said I, " and that is just what I dearly want to 
learn about. Did you educate your wife yourself, to be all 
that a wife should be, or [when you married her] was she 
already proficient ? " 

Well skilled ? " he replied, why, what skill was she 
likely to bring with her ? Not yet fifteen when she married 
me, and during her whole previous life most carefully 
trained to see and hear as little as possible, and to ask the 
fewest questions. Shouldn't anybody be satisfied, if at 
marriage her whole experience consisted in knowing how 
to take wool and make a dress and see that her mother's 
handwomen had their daily spinning tasks assigned ? For 
(he added) as regards control of appetite and self-indul- 
gence, she had the soundest education, and that I take it 
is the chief thing in the bringing up of man or woman." 

"Then all else, (said I) you taught your wife yourself, 
Ischomachus, until you had made her capable of attending 
carefully to her proper duties ? ;; 

"That I did not do (he replied) until I had offered sacri- 
fice, and prayed that I might teach, and she might learn 
all that could conduce to the happiness of us twain." 

Socrates. And did your wife join you in the sacrifice 
and prayer to that effect ? 

Isch. Most certainly, and with many a vow registered 
to heaven to become all that she ought to be. 


[Socrates now asks Ischomachus to tell how be educated his 

"Why, Socrates (he answered), when after a time she 
had been accustomed to my hand, that is, tamed sufficiently 
to play her part in a discussion, I put her this question, 
1 Did you ever stop to consider, dear wife, what led me 
to choose you, and your parents to intrust you to me ? It 
was surely not because either of us would have any trouble 
in finding another consort. No ! it was with deliberate 
intent, I for myself, and your parents for you, to discover 
the best partners of house and children we could find. . . . 
If at some future time God grant us children, we will take 
counsel together how best to bring them up, for that, too, 
will be a common interest, and a common blessing if haply 
they live to fight our battles and we find in them hereafter 
support and succor for ourselves. But at present here 
is our house, which belongs to both alike. It is common 
property, for all that I own goes by my will to the common 
fund, and in the same way was deposited your dowry. 
We need not stop to calculate in figures which it is of us 
who has contributed the most: rather let us lay to heart 
the fact that whichever of us proves the better partner, 
he or she at once contributes what is most worth having. 3 " 

[Ischomachus's wife now asks more particularly what her duties 
are to be ; and her husband answers :] 

" You will need to stay indoors, and dispatch to their toils 
such of your servants whose work lies outside the house. 
Those whose duties are indoors you will manage. It will 
be your task to receive the stuffs brought in, to apportion 
part for daily use, and to make provision for the rest, to 
guard and garner it so that the outgoings destined for a year 
may not be expended in a month. It will be your duty when 
the wools are brought in, to see that clothing is made for 
those who have need. You must also see that the dried 


corn is made fit and serviceable for food. Then, too, there 
is something else not altogether pleasing. If any of the 
household fall sick, it will be your care to see and tend 
them to the recovery of their health." 

Wife. Nay, that will be my pleasantest task, if only 
careful nursing can touch the springs of gratitude and leave 
them friendlier than before. . . . But mine would be a 
ridiculous guardianship and distribution of things indoors 
without your provident care to see that the importations 
from without are duly made. 

Isch. Just so, and mine would be a pretty piece of busi- 
ness, if there were no one to guard what I brought in. Do 
you not see how pitiful is the case of those unfortunates 
who pour water into their sieves forever, as the story goes, 
and labor but in vain ? 

Wife. Pitiful enough, poor souls, if that is what they do. 

Isch. But there are other cares, you know, and occupations, 
which are yours by right, and these you will find agreeable. 
This, for instance, to take 'some girl who knows nothing 
of carding wool, and to make her skillful in the art, dou- 
bling her usefulness ; or to receive another quite ignorant of 
housekeeping or of service, and to render her skillful, loyal, 
serviceable, till she is worth her weight in gold ; or again, 
when occasion serves, you have it in your power to requite 
by kindness -the well-behaved whose presence is a blessing 
to your house; or maybe to chasten the bad character, 
should such appear. But' the greatest joy of all will be to 
prove yourself my better; to make me your faithful fol- 
lower; knowing no dread lest as the years advance you 
should decline in honor in the household, but rather trust- 
ing that though your hair turn gray, yet in proportion as. 
you come to be a better helpmate to myself and to the 
children, a better guardian of our home, so will your honor 
increase throughout the household as mistress, wife, and 
mother, daily more dearly prized. 


[The wife carried out Ischomachus's instructions marvelously 
well : later they undertook to go through the house together, with 
a view to putting it in the best of order.] 

Isch. [continuing"]. We proceeded to set apart the orna- 
ments and holiday attire of the wife, and the husband's 
clothing both for festivals and war : the bedding both for 
the women's and for the men's apartments; next the shoes 
and sandals for them both. There was one division devoted 
to arms and armor, another to instruments used for carding 
wool, another to implements for making bread; another for 
cooking utensils, one for what we use in the bath, another for 
the things that go with the kneading trough, another for the 
service of the table. . . . We selected and set aside the sup- 
plies required for the month, and under a separate head we 
stored away what we computed would be needed for the 

[Ischomachus adds that at another time he told his wife not to 
use cosmetics, nor to think that she made her face more handsome, 
with white enamel or rouge, and to leave off high-heeled shoes : 
she promised to comply, but asked her husband if he could ad- 
vise her how she might become not a false show, but really fair to 
look upon ? To which he replied :] 

Do not be forever seated like a slave, but, with Heaven's 
help, to assume the attitude of a true mistress standing before 
the loom, and where your knowledge gives you the superiority, 
there give the aid of your instruction, and where your knowl- 
edge fails, as bravely try to learn. I counsel you to oversee 
the baking woman as she makes the bread ; to stand beside the 
housekeeper as she measures out her stores : to go on tonrs of 
inspection to see if all things are in order as they should be. 
Por, as it seems to me, this will be at once walking exercise 
and supervision. And as an excellent gymnastic I urge you 
to knead the dough, and roll the paste ; to shake the cover- 
lets and make the beds ; and if you train yourself in exercise 


of this sort you will enjoy your food, grow vigorous in health^ 
and your complexion will in very truth be lovelier. The 
very look and aspect of the wife, the mistress, seen in ri- 
valry with that of her attendants, being as she is at once 
more fair and more becomingly adorned, has an attractive 
charm, and not the less because her acts are acts of grace, 
not services enforced. Whereas your ordinary fine lady, 
seated in solemn state, would seem to court comparison with 
painted counterfeits of womanhood. 

[Ischomachus concludes by saying to Socrates], And I 
would have you to know that still to-day my wife is living 
in a style as that which I taught her, and now recount to 

How an Athenian Gentleman passed his Morning 

Ischomachus, who has narrated to Socrates how he trained up 
his wife to be a model helpmate, tells how he spends his own time 
in the morning and leads the life of a very prosperous and success- 
* ful Athenian gentleman. 

" Why, then, Socrates, my habit is to rise from bed be- 
times, when I may still expect to find at home this, that, or 
the other friend whom I may wish to see. Then, if anything 
has to be done in town, I set off to transact the business and 
make that my walk ; or if there is no business to transact 
in town, my serving boy leads on my horse to the farm ; I 
follow, and so make the country road my walk, which suits 
my purpose quite as well or better, Socrates, perhaps, than 
pacing up and down the colonnade [in the city]. Then when 
I have reached the farm, where mayhap some of my men 
are planting trees, or breaking fallow, sowing, or getting in. 
the crops, I inspect their various labors with an eye to every 
detail, and whenever I can improve upon the present system, 
I introduce reform. 

"After this, usually I mount my horse and take a canter. 


I put him through his paces, suiting these, so far as possible, 
to those inevitable in war, in other words, I avoid neither 
steep slope, nor sheer incline, neither trench nor runnel, only 
giving my uttermost heed the while so as not to lame my horse 
while exercising him. When that is over, the boy gives the 
horse a roll, and leads him homeward, taking at the same 
time from the country to town whatever we may chance to 
need. Meanwhile I am off for home, partly walking, partly 
running, and having reached home I take a hath and give 
myself a rub, and then I breakfast, a repast that leaves 
me neither hungry nor overfed, and will suffice me through 
the day." 


The period following the downfall of the Athenian Empire pre- 
sents fewer matters of political interest than the age immediately 
preceding. Athens was still the center of abounding intellectual 
activity, but her strength for all material enterprises had been 
sadly sapped by the Peloponnesian War. The only really first-rate 
political event was the overthrow of the Spartan power by Thebes, 
although this was very largely due to the personal ability of Epam- 
inondas, and Thebes lost much of her military importance on the 
day of his death. In the meantime, Demosthenes was coming to 
prominence at Athens, and was trying to rouse his fellow-citizens 
to a consciousness of the fact that a great peril was menacing the 
liberties of all Greece the rise of Macedonia. 

A few extracts, drawn from very diverse sources, are given here 
to illustrate some of the leading events of this so-called " last age 
of Greek Freedom." 


From Lysias's " Oration against Eratosthenes " 

Lysias the Orator, in the course of a legal arraignment of Era- 
tosthenes, one of the so-called " Thirty Tyrants " of Athens (404- 
403), gives the following graphic and interesting account of his 
own escape from murder at the hands of these oligarchs, and of 
the circumstances of his brother's arrest and execution. No more 
vivid picture has come to us of the miserable condition of things 
which prevailed at Athens in the year following the disastrous 
ending of the Peloponnesian War. It should be remembered that 
the " Thirty " boasted themselves as belonging to the " Noble and 
the Good" i.e. to the educated and intelligent class, and that 
they were intending to set up a government far superior to the 



mob rule of " Zing Demos." It is not surprising that after this 
year of agony Athens remained firmly attached to democracy so 
long as she retained her independence. 

My father, gentlemen of the jury, was induced to 
come to this land by Pericles, and here be lived for thirty 
years. During this time neither he nor we brought any suit 
against anybody, nor were sued ourselves ; . in short, under 
the democratic government [before the rule of the Thirty] 
we so lived that we never wronged anybody, nor did any- 
body wrong us. But when the Thirty, villains and syco- 
phants that they were ! came into power, they asserted 
that they must " clear the city of evildoers, and turn .the 
rest of the citizens to virtue and justice." Such were their 
professions : their performance was quite contrary, as I 
both for your sakes and mine will venture to remind you. 

It came to pass that Theognis and Piso speaking among 
the Thirty asserted that divers of the metics 1 were very 
dissatisfied with the existing [revolutionary] government, 
so, said they, here was a good pretext to try to punish 
them, but really to get hold of their money, " For the city 
was direfully poor, and the government needed funds.". 
Without difficulty they persuaded their colleagues ; for they 
thought it a thing of no moment at all to kill men, though 
to seize their money was of capital importance. Therefore 
they decided to arrest ten metics, of these two were to 
be poor men, so that they might allege that they had not 
seized the others for lucre, but for the public weal, as if 
they were acting out of sheer patriotism ! 

Accordingly they distributed men around the houses of 
their victims for the purpose of making the arrests. As 
for me [Lysias], they found me in the act of entertaining 
some guests, whom they drove out of the house, and put me 
in the custody of Piso, while the others going into the work- 

i Resident aliens who did not have the rights of citizenship. 


shop l took an inventory of the slaves. In the meantime I 
asked Piso [while the rest were away] if he would take a 
bribe and save me? "Yes," he said, "if it is a right big 
one!" Therefore I told him that I was ready to give a 
talent of silver (over $1000), and he agreed to carry out his 
end of the bargain. I knew that he feared neither gods nor 
men, still, in the existing crisis, I thought it absolutely need- 
ful to make a compact with him. Then he swore, in- 
voking ruin upon himself and his children, if he failed to 
save me, provided I gave him a talent. Whereupon I went 
to my private chamber, and opened the chest there. When 
Piso saw this he came in, looked into the chest, and sum- 
moning two of his servants ordered them to take possession 
of the contents. But he was far, gentlemen of the jury, 
from sticking to the sum agreed upon. Three talents of 
silver he took, four hundred " cyziceni," a hundred darics, 
and four bowls of silver. I begged him to give me some- 
thing for my traveling expenses, 2 he simply told me I 
ought to rejoice if I saved my skin ! 

When Piso and I started to leave the house, Melobius and 
Mnesitheides [Piso's associates] met us returning from the 
workshop. They overtook us just at the door, and asked 
where we were going. Piso said, to my [Lysias's] brother's 
house, to see what property was there. They told him to 
go along, but bade me come with them to Damnippus's house; 
whereupon Piso -approached me, and bade me keep silence 
and be of good cheer, for he was going to the same place, 
too. 8 

At Damnippus's house we found Theognis guarding the 
other prisoners 5 they turned me over to him and then went 

1 Evidently closely attached to Lysias's residence. 

2 Lysias had already resigned himself to fleeing into exile. 

8 Piso had how good reason to try to keep Lysias's courage up ; if the 
prisoner became desperate, he might reveal how Piso had been plundering 
in private, and Piso be forced to share with his fellows. 


back. I was now in such a case that it seemed wise for 
ine to take any kind of a risk, as if death were already im 
minent So I called Damnippus, and spoke to this effect : 
" You are a friend of mine, and here I am at your house. I 
have done nothing wrong, but I am on the point of being 
killed, just on account of my property. Considering my 
miserable plight, pray in kindness use your influence to 
secure my deliverance." This he promised on his part to 
do, but he considered it wiser to mention how the case lay 
to Theognis, for he thought " Theognis would do anything, 
if one would but give him some money/' 

However, while he was talking with Theognis, now I 
chanced to be well acquainted with the house, and knew 
that there were two doors, it seemed the only thing for 
me to do was to try to save myself unaided, considering 
that if I could escape undetected, I was safe; if I was 
stopped, still I could escape if Damnippus induced Theognis 
to take a bribe, but [if everything failed] I could only die 
just the same. With such motives, then, while they were 
stationing a guard at the hall door, I fled by another way. 
There were three doors through which I had to pass, but 
they all chanced to be open. I got to the house of Arche- 
neus the shipmaster, and I sent him to the town 1 to learn 
about the fate of my brother [Polemarchus] : presently he 
came back with the news that Eratosthenes [a member of 
the Thirty] had arrested him while on the road, and haled 
him off to prison. When I had ascertained these facts, on 
the next night I escaped by sea to Megara. 2 

As for Polemai?flhus, the Thirty gave the command, so 
usual with them ! that he must drink the hemlock poison. 
They never told him of the nature of the accusation for 
which he was to die, though much he desired a trial, and a 

A The shipmaster evidently lived down in the harbor town in the Hw&us. 
and Lysias induced him to up into the " City." 
8 A convenient refuge, of course, for Athenian exiles. 


chance to make his defense. When he was dead and they 
took. his body out of the prison, though our family owned 
three houses, the authorities would not let the funeral take 
place, from any of them. They simply hired a bier, and 
laid him out on it. There was plenty of clothing [in our 
confiscated dwellings] but they gave none to us [his rela- 
tives] though we requested it. So his friends gave one a 
mantle, and another a pillow, and so on, just as each one 
happened to have them, for his funeral. 

Although we had seven hundred shields belonging to us, 1 
together with gold, silver, brass ornaments, furniture, and 
women's clothing far beyond what [the Tyrants] had ex r 
pected, also one hundred and twenty slaves, of whom 
they took the best, and flung the others into prison, their 
insatiable avarice reached such a pitch, that they made a 
veritable exhibition of their true characters, for actiially 
Melobius took from the ears of the wife of Polemarchus, 
the gold earrings which she chanced to wear, and that, 
too, just as soon as he had entered her house. In not the 
least respect was our property spared by them. They 
wronged us thus on account of our wealth, as other ene- 
mies would on account of great injuries, although we had 
done nothing to deserve such treatment at the hands of the 
government, but had paid the cost of all the choruses, and 
many taxes, and had been law-abiding persons in every way. 
We had had no private enemies, and we had freed many 
Athenian citizens [by paying their ransoms] from their 


Cornelius BTepos " Life of Epaminondas," Selections. Bohxi Translation 

Epaminondas (died 362 <B.C.) was one of the noblest and ablest 

of all the Hellenes. Boeotia was counted as unprolific in great 

personalities, but Athens never produced a statesman of more 


unblemished integrity and patriotism, or greater capacity for or- 
ganizing men and handling them on the battle field. He was a 
real genius in the military art, breaking away from the conventions 
of the old-style Laconian drillmasters, and developing new tactics 
that were later perfected by Philip and Alexander. It was due 
largely to Epaminondas that Sparta was deposed from that 
hegemony of Hellas which she had so long held and abused. 

Epaminondas was the son of Polyninis, and was born at 
Thebes. He was of an honorable family, though left poor . . . 
but he was among the best educated among the Thebans ; 
be had been taught to play the harp and to sing to its ac- 
companiment by Dionysius [a famous musician], to play 
the flute by Olympiodorus, and to dance by Calliphron. 
For his instructor in philosophy he had Lysis of Tarentum, 
a Pythagorean, to whom he was so devoted that young as 
he was he preferred the society of a grave and austere old 
man, instead of companions of his own age ; nor did he part 
with him until he had so far excelled his fellow students in 
learning, that it might easily be seen that in the same way 
he would excel in other pursuits. 

After he grew up and began to apply himself to gymnastic 
exercises, he studied not so much to increase the strength 
as the agility of his body; for he thought that strength 
suited the purposes of wrestlers, but that agility conduced 
to excellence in war. He used to exercise himself very 
much, therefore, in running and wrestling, as long as he' 
could grapple, and contend standing with his adversary. 
But he spent most of his labor upon martial exercises. 

To the strength of body thus acquired were added many 
good qualities of mind ; for he was modest, prudent, grave, 
wisely availing himself of opportunities, skilled in war, 
brave in action, and of remarkable courage. He was so 
great a lover of truth that he would not tell a falsehood, 
even in jest ; he was also master of his passions, gentle in 
disposition, submitting to wrong not merely from the 


[Theban] people, but from his own friends. 1 He was a re- 
markable keeper of secrets, a quality no less serviceable 
sometimes tlian ability to speak eloquently. ... He bore 
poverty so easily that he received nothing [in way of re- 
ward] from his [native Theban] state save glory. He did 
not avail himself of the means of his friends to maintain 
himself, but he often used his credit to relieve others to 
such a degree that it might be thought all things were in 
common between him and his friends ; for when any one of 
his countrymen had been taken by the enemy, or when the 
marriageable daughter of a friend could not be married for 
lack of a dowry, he used to call a council of his friends and 
to prescribe how much each should give according to his 
means [toward the dowry or ransom]. 

He was also remarkably free from covetousness, as is 
shown when the envoy of King Artaxerxes the Persian 
came to Thebes to bribe Epaminondas with five talents [to 
get the Thebans to help the king], but Epaminondas said 
to him : " There is no need for money in this matter : for 
if the King desires what is for the good of the Thebans, I 
am ready to do it for nothing; if otherwise, he has not silver 
and gold enough to move me, for I would not exchange the 
riches of the whole world for my love for my country. You, 
who have tried me thus without knowing my character, 
and who have thought, me like yourself I do not blame 
and I forgive you ; but quit the city at once, lest you corrupt 
others, though unable to corrupt me." 2 
' He was also an able speaker, so that no Theban was a 
match for him in eloquence; nor was his language less 
pointed in brief replies than elegant in an elaborate speech. 
[At the battle of Mantinea, while his Boaotians were win- 

1 Note that Nepos does not add " and from his enemies "--that would 
have been beyond Graeco-Roman virtue. 

a Epaminondas would seem thus to be aware of the painful venality of 
very many of his f ellow Hellenes a national weakness. 


ning the day, he was mortally wounded by a javelin] : when 
he saw that if he drew out the iron head of the dart he 
would instantly die, he kept it in until they told him " that 
the Boeotians were victorious." " I have lived long enough/' 
he then said, "for I die unconquered." The iron head was 
then extracted, and at once he died. 

He was never married, and when blamed on that account 
[since he would leave no children] he said: "I cannot want 
for posterity. For I leave behind me a daughter, the 
victory of Leuctra, that must of necessity not merely sur- 
vive me, but be immortal ! " 

Xenophon, "Hellenica," book VI, chap. IV. Dakyn's Translation 

In 371 B.O. at Leuctra, in Boeotia, on the road from Platsea to 
Thespiae, the Thebans met and defeated the Spartans. The latter 
never recovered from the blow this disaster gave to their prestige. 
It was poetic justice that this punishment for their ill rule should 
come from Thebes the city they had used shamefully beyond all 
others. The credit for the victory falls to Epaminondas, though 
he is not named by the historian Xenophon, who as a warm ad- 
mirer of the Spartans was not anxious to glorify their most for- 
midable enemy. 

When the Spartan king [Cleombrotus] observed that the 
Thebans, so far from giving autonomy to the Boeotian city 
states [as demanded], were not even disbanding their army 
and had clearly the purpose of fighting a . general engage- 
ment, he felt justified in marching his troops into Boeotia 
[from Phocis 'where he had been]. The point of ingress 
which he adopted was not that which the Thebans expected 
from Phocis, and where they were keeping a guard at a de- 
file, but marching through Thisbse, by a hilly and unsus- 
pected route, he arrived before Creusis, taking that fortress 
and twelve Theban war ships to boot. After this, he ad- 


vanced from the seaboard, and encamped in Leuctra in 
Thespian territory. The Thebans encamped on a rising 
ground immediately opposite at no great distance, and were 
supported by no allies, save their [fellow] Boeotians. 

At this juncture the friends of Cleombrotus came to him 
and urged upon him strong reasons for delivering battle. 
" If you let the Thebans escape without fighting," they said, 
" you will run great risks of suffering the extreme penalty 
at the hands of the state. . . . [In times past you have 
missed doing anything notable, and let good chances slip.] 
If you have any care for yourself, or any attachment to 
your fatherland, march you must against the enemy." Thus 
spoke his friends, and his enemies remarked, "Now our fine 
fellow will show whether he is really so partial to the The- 
bans as is alleged." 

Both Sides prepare for Battle 

With these words ringing in his ears, Cleombrotus felt 
driven to join battle. On their side the Theban leaders 
calculated that if they did not fight, their provincial cities 
would hold aloof from them, and Thebes itself would be be- 
sieged ; while if the populace of Thebes failed to get provi- 
sions there was a good chance the city itself would turn 
against [its own leaders] ; and seeing that many of them 
had already tasted the bitterness of exile, they concluded it 
were better to die on the battle field than renew the exile's 
life. Besides this, they were somewhat encouraged by an 
oracle, predicting that "the Lacedaemonians would be de- 
feated on the spot where stood the monument of the 
maidens," who, as the story goes, being outraged by cer- 
tain Lacedaemonians, had slain themselves. This sepulchral 
monument the Thebans decked with ornaments before the 
battle. Furthermore, tidings were brought from the city 
that all the temples had opened of their own accord; and 


the priestesses asserted that the gods foretold victory. 
Cleombrotus held his last council " whether to fight or not " 
after the morning meal. In the heat of noon a little wine 
goes a long way ; and people said it took a somewhat pro- 
vocative effect upon their spirits. 

Circumstances unfavorable for the Spartans 

Both sides were now arming, and there were unmistakable 
signs of approaching battle, when, as the first incident, there 
issued from the Boeotian lines a long train bent on departure 
they were fu iiishers of the market, a detachment of 
baggage bearers and in general such people as had no 
hankering to join in the fight. [A band of the Spartan allies 
headed them off, and drove them back to the Boeotian camp 
. . . ] the result being to make the Boeotian army more 
numerous and closely packed than before. The next move 
was as a result of the open plain between the two armies, 
the Lacedaemonians posted their calvary in front of their 
squares of infantry, and the Thebans imitated them. Only 
there was this difference, the Theban horse were in a high 
state of training and emciency, thanks to their war with the 
Orchornenians, and also their war with Thespiae; the Lacedae- 
monian cavalry was at its very worst just now. The horses 
were reared and kept by the richest citizens ; but whenever 
the levy was called out, a trooper appeared who took the 
horse with any sort of arms that might be presented to him, 
and set off on an expedition at a moment's notice. These 
troopers, too, were the least able-bodie.d of the men, just 
raw recruits simply set astride their horses, and wanting 
in all soldierly ambition. Such was the cavalry of either 

The heavy infantry of the Lacedaemonians, it is said, 
advanced by sections three abreast, allowing a total depth 
to the whole line of not more than twelve. The Thebans 


were formed in close order of not less than fifty shields 
deep, calculating that victory over the [Spartan] king's di- 
vision of his army would involve the easy conquest of the 

The Shock of Battle 

Cleombrotus had hardly begun to lead his division against 
the foe, when, before in fact the troops with him were aware 
of his advance, the cavalry had already come into collision, 
and that of the Lacedaemonians was speedily worsted. In 
their flight they became involved with their own heavy in- 
fantry ; and, to make matters worse, the Theban regiments 
were already attacking vigorously. Still strong evidence 
exists for supposing that Cleombrotus and his division were, 
in the first instance, victorious in the battle, if we consider 
the fact that they could never have picked him up and 
brought him back alive unless his vanguard had been mas- 
ters of the situation for the moment. 

When, however, Deinon the polernarch, and Sphodrias, a 
member of the king's council, with his son Cleonymus, had 
fallen, then it was that the cavalry and the polemarch's ad- 
jutants, as they are called, with the rest, under pressure of 
the mass against them, began retreating. And the left wing 
of the Lacedaemonians, seeing the right borne down in this 
way, also swerved. Still, in spite of the numbers slain, and 
broken as they were, as soon as they had crossed the trench 
which protected their camp in front, they grounded 
arms on the spot whence they had rushed to battle. This 
camp, it should be borne in mind, did not lie on the level, 
but was pitched on a somewhat steep incline. 

The Spartans admit Defeat 

At this juncture there were some Lacedaemonians, who, 
looking upon such a disaster as intolerable, maintained that 
they ought to prevent the enemy from erecting a trophy, and 


try to recover the dead, not under a flag of truce, but by an* 
other battle. The polemarchs, however, seeing that nearly 
1000 of the total Lacedaemonian troops were slain, and see- 
ing, too, that of the 700 regular Spartans who were on the 
field some 400 lay dead ; aware likewise of the despondency 
which reigned among the allies, and the general disinclina- 
tion on their part to fight longer, a frame of mind not far 
from positive satisfaction in some cases at what had hap- 
pened, under the circumstances, I say, the polemarchs 
called a council of the ablest representatives of the shattered 
army, and deliberated on what should be done. Finally the 
unanimous opinion was to pick up the dead under a flag of 
truce, 1 and they sent a herald to treat for terms. The The- 
bans after that set up a trophy, and gave back the bodies un- 
der a truce. 

How the News came to Sparta 

After these events a messenger was dispatched to Lacedae- 
mon with news of the calamity. He reached his destination 
on the last day of the gymnopsediae [midsummer festival] 
just when the chorus of grown men had entered the theater. 
The ephors heard the mournful tidings not without grief or 
pain, as needs they must, I take it ; but for all that they 
did not dismiss the chorus, but allowed the contest to run 
out its natural course. What they did was to deliver the 
names of those who had fallen to their friends and families, 
with a word of warning to the women not to make any loud 
lamentation, but to bear their sorrow in silence; and the 
next day it was a striking spectacle to see those who had 
relations among the slain moving to and fro in public with 
bright and radiant looks, whilst of those whose friends were 
reported to be living, barely a man was seen, and these 

i To ask for a burial truce after a battle was a formal confession of 


flitted by with lowered heads and scowling brows, as if in 


Justin, " History," book VII, chap. V. Bohn Translation 

Philip II of Macedon (reigned 359 to 336 B.C.) took a faction- 
rent, semicivilized country of quarrelsome landed nobles and 
boorish peasants, and made it into the first military power in the 
world. The conquests of Alexander the Great would haye been 
impossible without the military power bequeathed him by his al- 
most equally great father. At the very outset of his reign Philip 
had to confront sore perils in his own family and among the vas- 
sals of his decidedly primitive kingdom. Some of these perils are 
here explained. 

Alexander II [King of Macedon] at the very beginning 
of his reign purchased peace from the Illyrians [the bar- 
barian folk north and west of Macedon] with a sum of 
money, giving his brother Philip as a hostage. Some time 
later, also, he made peace with the Thebans by giving the 
same hostage, a circumstance which afforded Philip fine 
opportunities for improving his extraordinary abilities ; for 
being kept as a hostage at Thebes for three years, he re- 
ceived the first rudiments of a boy's education at a city 
famous for its strict discipline, and in the house of Epami- 
nondas, who was eminent as a philosopher as well as a great 
general. Not long afterward Alexander perished by a plot 
of his mother Eurydice, whom Amyntas [her husband], 
when she was once convicted of a conspiracy against him, 
had spared for the sake of their children, little imagining 
that one day she would be their destroyer. Perdiccas, too, - 
A lexander J s brother, was taken off by like treachery. Hor- 
rible, indeed, it was that children should have been deprived 
of life to gratify the passion of a mother, whom a regard 
for those very children had saved from the reward for her 


crimes. The murder of Perdiccas seemed all the viler in 
that not even the prayers of his little son could win him 
pity from this mother. Philip, for a long time, acted not as 
king, but as guardian to this child ; but when dangerous wars 
threatened, and it was too long to wait for the coopera- 
tion of a prince who was yet so young, he was forced by the 
people to take the government upon himself. 

When he took possession of the throne, great hopes were 
formed of him by all, both on account of his abilities, which 
promised that he would prove a great man, and on account 
of certain old oracles touching Macedonia, which foretold 
that " when one of the sons of Amyntas should be king, the 
country should be extremely flourishing," to fulfill which 
expectations the iniquity of his mother had left only him. 

At the beginning of his reign, when both the treacherous 
murder of his brother, and the multitude of his enemies, 
and the poverty of the kingdom exhausted by successive 
wars, bore hard upon the immature young king : [he gained 
respite from attack by his many foes] some being put off by 
offers of peace, and others being bought off. However, he 
attacked such of his enemies as seemed easiest to be sub- 
dued, in order that by a victory over them he might confirm 
the wavering courage of his soldiers, and alter any feelings 
of contempt which his foes might feel for him. His first 
conflict was with the Athenians, 1 whom he surprised by a 
stratagem, but though he might have put them all to the 
sword he yet, from dread of a more formidable war, al- 
lowed them to depart uninjured, and without [even] a 
ransom. Later, leading his army against the Illyrians he 
slew several thousand of his enemies and took the famous 
city of Larissa. He then fell suddenly upon Thessaly 
(when it was fearful of anything but a war), not from a 
desire of spoil, but because he wished to add the strength of 

i Who sent a fleet to sustain one Manteias, a pretender to Philip's 


the Thessalian cavalry to his own troops ; and he thus in 
corporated a force of horse and foot in one invincible army. 

His undertakings having thus far prospered, he married 
Olympias, daughter of Neoptolemus, king of the Molossians 
[of Epirusj ; her cousin-german, Arrybas, then king of that 
nation, who had brought up the young princess, and married 
her sister Troas, doing all he could to promote the union. 
This proceeding, however, proved to be the cause of Arrybas's 
downfall, and the beginning of all the evils that afterward 
befell him; for while he hoped to strengthen his kingdom 
by this connection with Philip, he was deprived of his 
crown by that very sovereign, and spent his old age in 

After these proceedings Philip, no longer content to act 
on the defensive, boldly attacked even those who had not 
injured him. While he was besieging Methone [a Greek 
town on the Thermaic Gulf in .Macedonia], an arrow shot 
from the walls, as he was passing, struck out his right eye ; 
but this wound did not make him less active in the siege, 
nor more resentful towards the enemy. In fact, some days 
after, he granted them peace when they asked it, on terms 
not only not rigorous, but even merciful, to the conquered. 

Plutarch, " Life of Demosthenes," chaps. IV-XI 

Demosthenes (385 to 322 B.C.) is counted on the whole the 
greatest orator who ever lived. A statesman of perfect judg- 
ment he was not ; much less was he an able general ; it was, all 
considered, a good thing that the Greek system of petty, independ- 
ent city-states, with their local feuds and inability to combine 
effectively for common ends, passed away in favor of the Macedo- 
nian Empire with its great mission to carry the Hellenic 
civilization over the broad East. But although not a man of 
absolutely spotless personal integrity, there is no doubt that 
through his whole life Demosthenes was moved by a love for 


Athens, and used his matchless powers of eloquence in advocating 
what he conceived* to be her true glory. The boyhood and early 
training of such an orator becomes naturally an important subject 
for study. 

Demosthenes, the father of Demosthenes, was a citizen 
of good rank and quality, as The&pompus informs us, sur- 
named the Sword Maker, because he had a large workhouse, 
and kept servants skillful in that art at work. This at 
least is certain, that Demosthenes, being as yet but seven 
years old, was left by his father in affluent circumstances, 
the whole value of his estate being little short of fifteen 
talents, and that lie was wronged by his guardians, part 
of his fortune being embezzled by them, and the rest neg- 
lected; insomuch that even his teachers were defrauded 
of their salaries. This was the reason that he did not 
obtain the liberal education that he should have had ; be- 
sides that on account of weakness and delicate health, his 
mother would not let him exert himself, and his teachers 
forbore to urge him. 

Why Demosthenes took to Oratory 

The first occasion of his eager inclination to oratory, they 
say, was this. Callistratus, the orator, having to plead in 
open court for Oropus, the expectation of the issue of that 
cause was very great, as well for the ability of the orator, 
who was then at the height of his reputation, as also for the 
fame of the action itself. Therefore, Demosthenes, having 
heard the tutors and schoolmasters agreeing among them- 
selves to be present at this trial, with much importunity 
persuades his tutor to take him along with him to the hear- 
ing ; who, having some acquaintance with the doorkeepers, 
procured a place where the boy might sit unseen, and hear 
what was said. Callistratus having got the day, and being 
much admired, the boy began to look upon his glory with a 
kind of emulation, observing how he was courted on all 


hands, and attended on his way by the multitude ; but his 
wonder was more than all excited by the power of his elo- 
quence, which seemed able to subdue and win over anything. 
From this time, therefore, bidding farewell to other sorts of 
learning and study, he now began to exercise himself, and 
to take pains in declaiming, as one that meant to be himself 
also an orator. He made use of Isaeus as his guide to the 
art of speaking, though Isocrates at that time was giving 
lessons ; whether, as some say, because he was an orphan, 
and was not able to pay Isocrates his appointed fee of ten 
minae, or because he preferred Isseus's speaking, as being 
more businesslike and effective in actual use. Hermippus 
says that he met with certain memoirs without any author's 
name, in which it was written that Demosthenes was a scholar 
to Plato, and learnt much of his eloquence from him ; and he 
also mentions Ctesibius, as reporting from Callias of Syracuse 
and some others, that Demosthenes secretly obtained a knowl- 
edge of the systems of Isocrates and Alcidamas, and mastered 
them thoroughly. 

As soon, therefore, as he was grown up to man's estate, he 
began to go to law with his guardians, and to write orations 
against them ; who, in the meantime, had recourse to vari- 
ous subterfuges and pleas for new trials, and Demosthenes, 
though he was thus, as Thucydides says, < taught his business 
in dangers/ and by his own exertions was successful in his 
suit, was yet unable for all this to recover so much as a 
small fraction of his patrimony. He only attained some 
degree of confidence in speaking, and some competent ex- 
perience in it And having got a taste of the honor and 
power which are acquired by pleadings, he now ventured to 
come forth, and to undertake public business. And, as it is 
said of Laomedon, the Orchomenian, that by advice of his 
physician he used to run long distances to keep off some 
disease of his spleen, and by that means having, through 
labor and exercise, framed the habit of his body, he betook 


himself to the ' great garland games/ and became one of the 
best runners at the long race ; so it happened to Demosthenes, 
who, first venturing upon oratory for the recovery of his 
own private property, by this acquired ability in speaking, 
and at length, in public business, as it were in the great 
games, came to have the preeminence of all competitors in 
the assembly. 

He appears as a Public Orator 

When, however, he first addressed himself to the people, 
he met with great discouragements, and was derided for his 
strange and uncouth style, which was cumbered with long 
sentences and tortured with formal arguments to a most 
harsh and disagreeable excess. Besides, he had, it seems, a 
weakness in his voice, a perplexed and indistinct utterance, 
and a shortness of breath, which, by breaking and disjointing 
his sentences, much obscured the sense and meaning of what 
he spoke. So that in the end, being quite disheartened, he 
forsook the assembly ; and as he was walking carelessly and 
sauntering about the Piraeus, Eunomus, the Thriasian, then 
a very old man, seeing him, upbraided him, saying that his 
diction was very much like that of Pericles, and that he was 
wanting to himself through cowardice and meanness of 
spirit, neither bearing up with courage against popular out- 
cry, nor fitting his body for action, but suffering it to lan- 
guish through mere sloth and negligence. 

[He then devoted himself to the study of oratory, especially that 
of physical expression, and caine to realize that good enunciation 
and delivery were as important as excellent subject matter.] 

Later he built himself a place to study in underground 
(which, was still remaining in our time), and hither he would 
come constantly every day to form his action, and to exer- 
cise his voice ; and here he would continue, oftentimes with- 
out intermission, two or three months together, shaving 


one half of his head, that so for shame he might not go 
abroad, though he desired it ever so much. 

His Methods of preparing Speeches 

Nor -was this all, but he also made his conversation with 
people abroad, his common speech, and his business, subser- 
vient to his studies, taking from hence occasions and argu- 
ments as matter to work upon. For as soon as he was parted 
from his company, down he would go at once into his study, 
and run over everything in order that had passed, and the 
reasons that might be alleged for and against it Any 
speeches, also, that he was present at, he would go over 
again with himself, and reduce into periods ; and whatever 
others spoke to him, or he to them, he would correct, trans- 
form, and vary several ways. Hence it was that he was 
looked upon as a person of no great natural genius, but one 
who owed all the power and ability he had in speaking to 
labor and industry. Of the truth of which it was thought 
to be no small sign, that he was very rarely heard to speak 
upon the occasion, but though he were by name frequently 
called upon by the people, as he sat in the assembly, yet he 
would not rise unless he had previously considered the sub- 
ject, and came prepared for it. So that many of the popu- 
lar pleaders used to make it a jest against him ; and Pytheas 
once, scoffing at him, said that his arguments smelt of the 
lamp. To which Demosthenes gave the sharp answer, "It 
is true, indeed, Pytheas, that your lamp and mine are not 
conscious of the same things." To others, however, he 
would not much deny it, but would admit frankly enough 
that he neither entirely wrote his speeches beforehand, nor 
yet spoke wholly extempore. And he would affirm that it 
was the more truly popular act to use premeditation, such 
preparation being a kind of respect to the people; whereas, 
to slight, and take no care how what is said is likely to be 


received by the audience, shows something of an oligarchical 
temper, and is the course of one that intends force rathet 
than persuasion. . . . 

Demetrius, the Phalerian, tells us that he was informed 
by Demosthenes himself, now grown old, that the ways he 
made use of to remedy his natural bodily infirmities and 
defects were such as these : his inarticulate and stammering 
pronunciation he overcame and rendered more distinct by 
speaking with pebbles in his mouth ; his voice he disciplined 
by declaiming and reciting speeches or verses when he was 
out of breath, while running or going up steep places ; and 
that in his house he had a large looking-glass, before which 
he would stand and go through his exercises. 

It is told that some one once came to request his assist- 
ance as a pleader, and related how he had been assaulted 
and beaten. Certainly," said Demosthenes, " nothing of 
the kind can have happened to you." Upon which the 
other, raising his voice, exclaimed loudly, "What, Demos- 
thenes, nothing has been done to me?" "Ah," replied 
Demosthenes, "now I hear the voice of one that has been 
injured and beaten." Of so great consequence towards the 
gaining of belief did he esteem the tone and action of the 
speaker. The action which he used himself was wonderfully 
pleasing to the common people ; but by well-educated people, 
as, for example, by Demetrius the Phalerian, it was looked 
upon as mean, humiliating, and unmanly. And Hermippus 
says of JEsion, 1 that, being asked his opinion concerning the 
ancient orators and those of his own time, he answered that 
it was admirable to see with what composure and in what 
high style they addressed themselves to the people; but 
that the orations of Demosthenes, when they are ready cer- 
tainly appear to be superior in point of construction, and 
more effective. His written speeches, beyond all question, 
are characterized by austere tone and by their severity. In 
1 An orator at Athens contemporary to Demosthenes. 


his extempore retorts and rejoinders, he allowed himself the 
use of jest and mockery. 


Demosthenes, " Second Olynthiac Oration." Grote's Translation (" History 
of Greece/' vol. XI, chap. 88) 

While Philip of Macedon was in the first stages of his aggressive 
power, lie was by no means so formidable that the Athenians could 
not have exerted themselves against him successfully. But hi the 
disasters of the Peloponnesian War they had lost that tremendous 
energy and spirit of sacrifice which had wrought such wonders in the 
days of Oimon and Pericles. Demosthenes never ceased to urge 
the necessity of an extreme effort to beat back the aggressions of 
the king ; but he gained no real response until it was too late. 
The passage quoted is from an oration of 349 B.C. 

Here you are, Athenians, sitting still [while Philip is on 
the point of taking the important city of Olynthus] and 
doing nothing. The sluggard cannot even command his 
friends to work for him much less the Gods. I do not 
wonder that Philip always in the field, doing everything 
for himself, never letting slip an opportunity prevails 
over you who merely talk, inquire, and vote, without action. 
Nay the contrary would be wonderful, if under such cir- 
cumstances he had not been the conqueror. But what I do 
wonder at is, that you Athenians, who in former days 
contended for Panhellenic freedom against the Lacedae- 
monians, who, scorning unjust aggrandizement for your- 
selves, fought in person and lavished your substance to 
protect the rights of other Greeks, that you now shrink 
from personal service and payment of money for the defense 
of your own possessions. You, who have so often rescued 
others, can now sit still after having lost so much of your 
own! . . . 

This [work of saving Olynthus and checking Philip] must 


be done by ourselves, and at once. We must furnish money : 
we must serve in person by turns. We must give our gen- 
erals means to do their work well, and then exact from them 
a severe account afterward which we cannot do, so long 
as we ourselves will neither serve nor pay. . . . We must 
not only come forward vigorously and heartily, with person 
and property, but each man must embrace faithfully his 
fair share of patriotic obligation. 

Diodorus Siculus, "History," book XVI, chap. 14 

In 338 B.C. the liberty of the old Greek city-states was blasted 
at Chseroneia in BoBotia by the victory of Philip of Macedon. In 
the last crisis Athens and Thebes sank their old feuds and cooper- 
ated gallantly; but met disaster primarily because neither city 
was able to find even a good second-rate general to pit against 
Philip area! genius for war and against his admirably or- 
ganized Macedonian army. 

This battle implied the passing of the Greek system of city- 
states and the substitution of large military monarchies. 

In the year Charondas was first archon in Athens, Philip, 
king of Macedon, being already in alliance with many of 
the Greeks, made it his chief business to subdue the Athe- 
nians, and thereby with the more ease control all Hellas. 
To this end he presently seized Elateia [a Phocian town 
commanding the mountain passes southward], in order to 
fall on the Athenians, imagining to overcome them with 
ease ; since he conceived they were not at all ready for war, 
having so lately made peace with him. Upon the taking of 
Elateia, messengers hastened by night to Athens, informing 
the Athenians that the place was taken, and Philip was 
leading on his men in full force to invade Attica. 

The Athenian magistrates in alarm had the trumpeters 
sound their warning all night, and the rumor spread with 
terrifying effect all through the city. At daybreak the 


people without waiting the usual call of the magistrate 
rushed to the assembly place. Thither came the officials 
with the messenger ; and when they had announced their 
business, fear and silence filled the place, and none of the 
customary speakers had heart to say a word. Although the 
herald called on everybody "to declare their minds " as 
to what was to be done, yet none appeared; the people, 
therefore, in great terror cast their eyes on Demosthenes, 
who now arose, and bade them to be courageous, and forth- 
with to send envoys to Thebes to treat with the Boeotians 
to join in the defense of the common liberty 5 for there was 
no time (he said) to send an embassy for aid elsewhere, 
since Philip would probably invade Attica within two days, 
and seeing he must march through Boeotia, the only aid was 
to be looked for there. 

Thebes makes Alliance with AtJiens 

The people approved of his advice, and a decree was voted 
that such an embassy should be sent. As the most eloquent 
man for the task, Demosthenes was pitched upon, and forth- 
with he hastened away [to Thebes. Despite past hostilities 
between Athens and Thebes, and the counter-arguments of 
Philip's envoys, Demosthenes persuaded Thebes and her 
Boeotian cities that their liberty as well as that of Athens 
was really at stake, and to join arms with the Athenians. 1 ] 

. . . When Philip could not prevail on the Boeotians to 
join him, he resolved to fight them both. To this end, after 
waiting for reinforcements, he invaded Boeotia with about 
thirty thousand foot and two thousand horse. 

The Battle 

Both armies were now ready to engage ; they were equal 
indeed in courage and personal valor, but in numbers and 

1 A remarkable piece of diplomacy and eloquence, of which Demosthenes 
was justly proud. 


military experience a great advantage lay with the king. 
For he had fought many battles, gained most of them, and 
so learned much about war, but [the best] Athenian generals 
were now dead, and Chares the chief of them still remain- 
ing differed but little from a common private in all that 
pertained to true generalship. About sunrise [at Chaeroneia 
in BoBotia] the two armies arrayed themselves for battle. 
The king ordered his son Alexander, who had just become 
of age, yet already was giving clear signs of his martial 
spirit, to lead one wing, though joined to him were some 
of the best of his generals. Philip himself, with a picked 
corps, led the other wing, and arranged the various brigades 
at such posts as the occasion demanded. The Athenians 
drew up their army, leaving one part to the Boeotians, and 
leading the rest themselves. 

At length the hosts engaged, and the battle was fierce 
and bloody. It continued long with fearful slaughter, but 
victoiy was uncertain, until Alexander, anxious to give his 
father proof of his valor, and followed by a courageous 
band, was the first to break through the main body of 
the enemy, directly opposing him, slaying many ; and bore 
down all before him, and his men, pressing on closely, cut 
to pieces the lines of the enemy ; and after the ground had 
been piled with the dead, put the wing resisting him in 
flight. The king, too, at the head of his corps, fought with 
no less boldness and fury, that the glory of victory might 
not be attributed to his son. He forced the enemy re- 
sisting him also to give ground, and at length completely 
routed them, and so was the chief instrument of the vic- 

Results of the Battle 

Over one thousand Athenians fell, and two thousand were 
made prisoners. A great number of the Boeotians, too, per- 
ished, and many more were captured by the enemy. . . . 


. . . [After some boastful conduct by the king, thanks 
to the influence of Demades, an Athenian orator who had 
been captured], Philip sent ambassadors to Athens and re- 
newed the peace with her [on very tolerable terms, leaving 
her most of her local liberties]. He also made peace with 
the Boeotians, but placed a garrison in Thebes. Having thus 
struck terror into the leading Greek states, he made it his 
chief effort to be chosen generalissimo of all Greece. It be- 
ing noised abroad that he would make war upon the Per- 
sians, on behalf of the Greeks, in order to avenge the 
impieties committed by them against the Greek gods, he 
presently won public favor over to his side throughout 
Greece. He was very liberal and courteous, also, to both 
private citizens and communities, and proclaimed to the 
cities 'that he wished to consult with them as to the com- 
mon good.' Whereupon a general Council [of the Greek 
cities] was convened at Corinth, where he declared his 
design of making war on the Persians, and the reasons he 
hoped for success ; and therefore desired the Council to 
join him as allies in the war. At length he was created 
general of all Greece, with absolute power, and having 
made mighty preparations and assigned the contingents 
to be sent by each city, he returned to Macedonia [where, 
soon after, he was murdered by Pausanius, a private enemy], 


Arrian, " Alexander," book VII, chap. 9. Bohn Translation 

The magnitude of the work done in and for Macedon hy Philip 
is admirably summarized by his son Alexander, in a speech de- 
livered to a band of mutineers in his army. (Opis in Babylonia, 
324 B.C.) Alexander undertook to charge the malcontents with 
ingratitude to his dynasty, and recounted his own and his father's 
vast services to them. 


He [Philip] found you vagabonds and destitute, most of 
you clad in hides, feeding a few sheep up the mountain 
sides for the protection of which you had to fight with 
small success against Illyrians, Triballians, and the border 
Thracians. Instead of the hides he gave you cloaks to 
wear, and from the mountains he led you down into the 
plains, and made you capable of fighting the neighboring 
barbarians so that you were no longer forced to save your- 
selves by trusting more to your inaccessible strongholds 
than to your valor. Colonists of cities, too, he made you, 
and he adorned [his cities] with useful laws and customs ; 
and from being slaves and subjects he made you rulers over 
the very barbarians by whom you yourselves, as well as 
your property, had previously been liable to be carried off 
or ravaged. 

Then again he added the bulk of Thrace to Macedonia, 
and by seizing the best situated places on the coast, he made 
the land prosper by commerce, and made the workings of 
the mines safe business. He made you rulers over the 
Thessalians of whom you had once been mortally afraid; 
and by humbling the folk of the Phocians, he made the road 
into Hellas broad for you and easy not narrow and diffi- 
cult as before. The Athenians and Thebans, always waiting 
to assail Macedonia, he humbled to such a degree . . that 
instead of paying- tribute to Athens and being vassals to 
Thebes, those states must perforce get security for them- 
selves by our aid. He penetrated into Peloponnesus, and, 
after regulating its affairs, was publicly declared commander 
in chief for all the rest of Hellas in the expedition against 
the Persian, adding this glory not more to himself than to 
the commonwealth of the Macedonians. 

These then were the advantages which you gained from 
my father Philip ! 



To few human beings has it been given to perform so notable a 
work as that wrought by Alexander of Macedon, the greater son 
of a great father. But for him Greek civilization with all its 
noble flower might have remained the mere ornament of a single 
race, destined to wither and die with little effect upon distant his- 
tory. Alexander gave Greek civilization to the outside world. 
Thanks to him and to his mighty successors, the Ptolemies and 
Seleucidae, Greek was to become the dominant language, and Greek 
modes of thought and art the dominant cultural factors in Egypt, 
Syria, Asia Minor, in fact, in all the nearer Orient ; while a line of 
kings affecting Greek names and traditions was actually to reign on 
the confines of India. The work of Christianity would have been 
infinitely hampered if the Greek language had not been ready at 
hand, understood by Jew and Gentile alike, for the use of the 
Evangelists and of St. Paul. Later the Romans themselves were 
to become real exponents of Alexander's tradition, and to aid in the 
diffusion of actual Hellenic culture in the East ; just as they dif- 
fused the profoundly Hellenized Latin culture in the west of 
Europe. The cardinal events in the career of Alexander have 
therefore a prime importance in universal history. Most of the ex- 
tracts here presented are from Arrian, who is on the whole his best 


Plutarch, "Life of Alexander the Great," chaps. m-Vm 

Alexander the Great lived only from 356 to 323 B.O., yet, barring 
Julius Caesar, perhaps no other secular personage ever put so great 
an impress on history as he. Despite some undesirable qualities, 
he seems to have been in the main a gallant cavalier and a high- 
minded Mend ; chivalrous, generous, and capable of winning the 



abiding love of strong men. In battle he would expose himself 
with a recklessness seemingly mere folly in a great commander. 
He surpassed in all those athletic sports which were the delight 
of the Hellenes. Although king of a people that were only semi 
Greek, he went into the war with Persia as the enthusiastic cham- 
pion of Hellenic culture and light as against barbarism and dark- 
ness. The story of his boyhood and education explains much of 
what followed in his after career. 

Alexander was born the sixth of Hecatombaeon, 1 which 
month the Macedonians call Lous, the same day that the 
temple of Artemis at Ephesus was burnt. 

Just after Philip had taken Potidsea, he received these 
three messages at one time : that Parmenio had overthrown 
the Illyrians in a great battle, that his race horse had won 
the course at the Olympic games, and that his wife had given 
birth to Alexander ; with which being naturally well pleased 
as an addition to his satisfaction, he was assured by the di- 
viners that a son, whose birth was accompanied with three 
such successes, could not fail of being invincible. 

Alexander's temperance, as to the pleasures of the body, 
was apparent in him in his very childhood, as he was with 
much difficulty incited to them, and always used them 
with great moderation ; though in other things he was ex- 
tremely eager and vehement, and in his love of glory, and 
the pursuit of it, he, showed a solidity of high spirit and 
magnanimity far above his age. For he neither sought nor 
valued it upon every occasion, as his father Philip did (who 
affected to show his eloquence almost to a degree of pedan- 
try, and took care to have the victories of his racing chariots 
at the Olympic games engraven on his coin), but when he 
was asked by some about him, whether he would run a race 
in the Olympic games, as he was very swift-footed, he an- 
swered, he would, if he might have kings to run with him. 
Indeed, he seems in general to have looked with indifference, 

* The Attic month of July. 


if not with dislike, upon the professed athletes. He often 
appointed prizes, for which not only tragedians and musi- 
cians, pipers and harpers, but rhapsodists also, strove to out- 
Tie one another; and delighted in all manner of hunting and 
cudgel playing, but never gave any encouragement to contests 
either of boxing or of the pancratium. 1 

Sis Ambitions and Education in Boyhood 

While he was yet very young, he entertained the ambassa- 
dors from the king of Persia, in the absence of his father, and 
entering much into conversation with them, gained so much 
upon them by his affability, and the questions he asked 
them, which were far from being childish or trifling (for 
he inquired of them the length of the ways, the nature of 
the roads into inner Asia, the character of their king, how he 
carried himself to his enemies, and what forces he was able 
to bring into the field), that they were struck with admira- 
tion of him, and looked upon the ability so much famed of 
Philip to be nothing in comparison with the forwardness 
and high purpose that appeared thus early in his son. 
Whenever he heard Philip had taken any town of importance, 
or won any signal victory, instead of rejoicing at it altogether, 
he would tell his companions that his father would antici- 
pate everything, and leave him and them no opportunities 
of performing great and illustrious actions. For being more 
bent upon action and glory than either upon pleasure or 
riches, he esteemed all that he should receive from his father 
as a diminution and prevention of his own future achieve- 
ments ; and would have chosen rather to succeed to a king- 
dom involved in troubles and wars, which would have afforded 
him frequent exercise of his courage, and a large field of 
honor, than to one already flourishing and settled, where his 
inheritance would be an inactive life, and the mere enjoy- 
ment of wealth and luxury. 

1 A brutal combination of boxing and wrestling* 


The care of his education, as it might be presumed, was 
committed to a great many attendants, preceptors, and 
teachers, over the whole of whom Leonidas, a near kinsman 
of Olympias, a man of an austere temper, presided, who did 
not indeed himself decline the name of what in reality is a 
noble and honorable office, 1 but in general his dignity, and 
his near relationship, obtained him from other people the 
title of Alexander's foster father and governor. But he 
who took upon him the actual place and style of his pedar 
gogue, was Lysimachus the Acarnanian, who, though he 
had nothing specially to recommend him, but his lucky fancy 
of calling himself Phoenix, Alexander Achilles, and Philip 
Peleus, was therefore well enough esteemed, and ranked in 
the next degree after Leonidas. 

How Alexander subdued Bucephalus 

Philonicus the Thessalian brought the horse Bucephalus 
to Philip, offering to sell him for thirteen talents ; but when 
they went into the field to try him, they found him so very 
vicious and unmanageable, that he reared up when they en- 
deavored to mount him, and would not so much as endure 
the voice of any of Philip's attendants. Upon which, as 
they were leading him away as wholly useless and untract- 
able, Alexander, who stood by, said, "What an excellent 
horse do they lose, for want of address and boldness to 
manage him ! " Philip at first took no notice of what he 
said; but when he heard him repeat the same thing several 
times, and saw he was much vexed to see the horse sent 
away, "Do you reproach," said he to him, "those who are 
older than yourself, as if you knew more, and were better 
able to manage him than they?" "I could manage this 
horse," replied he, "better than others do." "And if you 

i The paidagogus or psedagogus was usually a slave, who took the boy 
to and from school. 


do not," said Philip, "what will you forfeit for your rash- 
ness ? JJ "I will pay/' answered Alexander, "the whole 
price of the horse." At this the whole company fell a 
laughing; and as soon as the wager was settled amongst 
them, he immediately ran to the horse, and, taking hold of 
the bridle, turned him directly towards the sun, having, it 
seems, observed that he was disturbed at and afraid of the 
motion of his own shadow ; then letting him go forward a 
little, still keeping the reins in his hand, and stroking him 
gently when he found him begin to grow eager and fiery, he 
let fall his upper garment softly, and with one nimble leap 
securely mounted him, and when he was seated, by little 
and little drew in the bridle, and curbed him without either 
striking or spurring him. Presently, when he found him 
f ree from all rebelliousness, and only impatient for the course, 
he let him go at full speed, inciting him now. with a com- 
manding voice, and urging him also with his heel. Philip 
and his friends looked on at first in silence and anxiety 
for the result, till, seeing him turn at the end of his career, 
and come back rejoicing and triumphing for what he had 
performed, they all burst out into acclamations of applause ; 
and his father, shedding tears, it is said, for joy, kissed him 
as he came down from his horse, and in his transport said, 
" my son, look thee out a kingdom equal to and worthy of 
thyself, for Macedonia is too little for thee." 

Alexander is trained by Aristotle 

After this, considering him to be of a temper easy to be 
led to his duty by reason, but by no means to be compelled, 
he always endeavored to persuade rather than to command or 
force him to anything; and now looking upon the instruction 
and tuition of his youth to be of greater difficulty and im- 
portance than to be wholly trusted to the ordinary masters 
in music and poetry, and the common school subjects, and 
to require, as Sophocles says, 


"The bridxe and the rudder too," 

he sent for Aristotle, the most learned and most celebrated 
philosopher of his time, and rewarded him with a munifi- 
cence proportionable to and becoming the care he took to 
instruct his son. For he repeopled his native city Stagira, 
which he had caused to be demolished a little before, and 
restored all the citizens who were in exile or slavery, to 
their habitations. As a place for the pursuit of their studies 
and exercises, he assigned the temple of the Nymphs, near 
Mieza, where, to this very day, they show you Aristotle's stone 
seats, and the shady walks which he was wont to frequent. 
It would appear that Alexander received from him not 
only his doctrines of Morals, and of Politics, but also some- 
thing of those more abstruse and profound theories which 
these philosophers, by the very names they gave them, pro- 
fessed to reserve for oral communication to the initiated, 
and did not allow many to become acquainted with. For 
when he was in Asia, and heard Aristotle had published 
come treatises of that kind, he wrote to him, using very 
plain language to him in behalf of philosophy, the follow- 
ing letter: "Alexander to Aristotle greeting. You have 
not done well to publish your books of oral doctrine ; for 
what is there now that we excel others in, if those things 
which we have been particularly instructed in be laid open 
to all ? For my part, I assure you, I had rather excel others 
in the knowledge of what is excellent, than in the extent of 
my power and dominion. Farewell." And Aristotle, sooth- 
ing this passion for preeminence, speaks, in his excuse for 
himself, of these doctrines, as in fact both published and not 
published ; as indeed, to say the truth, his books on meta- 
physics are written in a style which makes them useless for 
ordinary teaching, and instructive only, in the way of memo- 
randa, for those who have been already conversant in that 
sort of learning. He was naturally a groat lover of all 
kinds of learning and reading ; and Onesicritus informs us 


that he constantly laid Homer's " Iliad/' according to the 
copy corrected by Aristotle, called the casket copy, with his 
dagger under his pillow, declaring that he esteemed it a 
perfect portable treasure of all military virtue and knowl- 
edge. When he was in the upper Asia, being destitute of 
other books, he ordered Harpalus to send him some ; who 
furnished him with Philistus's " History," a great many of 
the plays of Euripides, Sophocles, and JEschylus, and some 
dithyrambic odes, composed by Telestes and Philoxenus. 


Aman, "Alexander," book I, chap. 6. Bohn Translation 

Alexander's most famous military arm was his phalanx, the 
solid array of Macedonian footmen armed with sarissce, spears 
about 18 feet long. Such a spear hedge was practically impene- 
trable. But Alexander did not simply use the phalanx in line of 
battle on level ground. He had a number of formations which he 
could employ according to circumstances, as here illustrated. Again, 
he seldom depended in battle upon the phalanx alone; rather it was 
used to hold the enemy in check, while his splendid "Companion " 
cavalry crushed the foe by flank and rear charges. 

[Alexander being on the point of engaging the Taulantians, 
a people of Illyria to the north of Macedonia], drew up his 
army in such a way that the depth of the phalanx was 120 
men, and stationing 200 cavalry on each wing he ordered 
them to keep silence, and receive the word of command 
quickly. Accordingly he gave the signal to the heavy-armed 
infantry in the first place to hold their spears erect, and 
then to couch them at the concerted sign ; at one time to 
incline their spears to the right, closely locked together 
at another towards the left. He then set the phalanx itself 
into quick motion forward, and marched it toward the wings 
[of the whole line of battle], now to the right, and now to 
the left. After thus arranging and rearranging his lines 
many times very rapidly, he at last formed his phalanx into 


a sort of wedge, and led it towards the left against the 
enemy, who had long been in a state of amazement at seeing 
both the order and the rapidity of his evolutions. Conse- 
quently they did not sustain Alexander's attack, but quitted 
the first ridges of the mountain. Upon this, Alexander 
ordered the Macedonians to raise the battle cry, and to make 
a clatter with their spears upon their shields, and the 
Taulantians being still more alarmed at the noise led 
their army back to their city at full speed. 


Arrian, " Alexander/' book H, chap. 14. Bonn Translation 

Very few of the laws and proclamations of the great Macedonian 
have come down to us in original form ; consequently this letter, 
which is really what Alexander intended to be a statement of his 
motives in waging the war, has no slight importance. Of course, it 
gives what Alexander wished the Asiatics to believe were the facts, 
rather than the facts as ascertained by impartial history. The 
style of the letter seems to be Alexander's own, and shows how 
he could assume the tone of an Eastern despot. 

[After the battle of Issus (333 B.O.), Darius III of Persia sent 
envoys to Alexander, entreating the restoration of his mother, wife, 
and children, and desiring friendship and alliance ; in reply Alex- 
ander sent the following uncompromising letter.] 

Your ancestors came into Macedonia and the rest of 
Greece and .treated us ill, though not wronged by us. I, 
who have been appointed Captain General of the Hellenes, 
desiring to take vengeance on the Persians, crossed over into 
Asia, after you had begun the fighting. For you sent aid to 
the Perinthians, 1 who were dealing unjustly with my father; 
and Ochus [your predecessor] sent forces into Thrace, which 
was under our rule. My father was killed by conspirators 
whom you instigated, as you yourself boasted to all in your 
1 Whohad been besieged -by Fhilip. 


letters, 1 and, after seizing the throne yourself contrary to 
Persian law, and ruling your subjects unjustly, you sent un- 
friendly letters abeut me to the Greeks, urging them to wage 
war with me. You have also dispatched money to the 
Lacedaemonians, and certain other Greeks ; but none of the 
states received it, save only the Lacedaemonians. As your 
agents corrupted my friends and were striving to dissolve the 
league which I had f craned against the Greeks, I took the field 
against you, because you were the party who began the strife. 

Since now I have vanquished your generals and satraps 
in the former battle [of the Granicus], and now you yourself 
and your forces in like manner, I am by the gift of the 
gods in possession of your land. As many of the men 
who fought in your army as were not slain in the battle, but 
fled to me for refuge, I am protecting. They are with me 
not perforce, but serve me as volunteers. Come to me, there- 
fore, for I am the lord of all Asia. If you are fearful of 
severity from me should you come, send some friends to ob- 
tain safe pledges from me. Come to me, then, and ask for 
your mother, wife, children, and aught else that you desire. 
For whatsoever you ask, you shall receive. Nothing shall 
be denied you. 

For the future, however, whenever you communicate, 
send to me as to " The King of Asia " ; and address not 
to me your wishes as to an equal. If you need anything, 
address me as th3 man who is lord of all your lands. If 
you do otherwise, I will consider how to reward you as a 
malefactor. If you question my right to lordship, stay and 
fight another battle for it. But do not run away ; for where- 
ever you may be, thither will I march to attack you. 2 

1 Probably Darius had no part in the death of Philip, though he perhaps 
claimed it to gain favor with the Anti-Macedonian party in Greece. 

2 NOTE TO THIS LETTER. This letter contains several errors in the 
Greek, proving that Alexander wrote it himcelf, for he certainly had 
secretaries whose style would have been models of Attic elegance after the 
manner of the great stylist, Isocrates. 




Anian, "Alexander/' book HI, chap. 1. Bonn Translation 

Alexandria in Egypt was founded by the Conqueror in 332 
B.C., as a Greek city, to be the link betwixt Hellas and Egypt, 
replacing the older and inconveniently located Naucratis. Noth- 
ing better illustrates the prescience of Alexander than the selection 
of this site, which is the best point for a great commercial metrop- 
olis along the whole Egyptian coast. The city soon grew to a 
size far surpassing the most optimistic expectations. Alexander 
was a mighty city founder. At least nine other " Alexandria^ " 
lay scattered over the Graeco-Oriental world, whereof four were of 
considerable importance. 

[When Alexander had entered Egypt and received the 
submission of the population], from Memphis he sailed 
down the river towards the sea, . . . coming to Canopus 
he . . , disembarked where is now situated the city of Al- 
exandria, which takes its name from him. The position 
seemed to him a very fine spot on which to found a city, 
and lie thought it would become a prosperous one. There- 
fore he was seized by an ardent desire to undertake the en- 
terprise, and lie marked out the boundaries of the city 
himself, pointing out the place where the market place 
was to be located; where the temples were to be built, 
stating how many there were to be, and to what Grecian 
gods they were to be dedicated, and specially marking a 
spot for a temple to the Egyptian Isis. He also pointed 
out where the wall was to be carried out. The soothsayers 
[pondering upon certain lucky omens] told Alexander that 
the city would become prosperous in every respect, but es- 
pecially in regard to the fruits of the earth. 


Arrian, "Alexander/ 9 book III, chap. 8. Bohn Translation 

Despite the experience of one hundred and fifty years of warfare 
with the Greeks, the Persians had learned little about field tactics 
and the proper composition of armies. On the eve of the battle of 
Arbela (more properly " The Plains of Gaugamela ") * in October 
331 B.O., Darius III had an army of almost the same type as the 
lumbering host of Xerxes ; and in the actual battle he did not use 
it more skillfully. 

The Indians who were neighbors to the Baetrians, like- 
wise the Bactrians themselves and the Sogdianians, had come 
to the aid of Darius, all under the lead of Bessus, satrap of 
the Bactrian lands. They were followed by the Sacians, a 
Scythian tribe belonging to the Scythians who dwell in 
Asia. 2 These were not subject to Bessus, but were in alli- 
ance with Darius. . . . 

[There were besides these Arachotians, and mountaineer In- 
dians, Areians, Parthians, Hyrcanians, Tapurians, Medes, Susiani- 
ans, Carians, Babylonians, Armenians, and Syrians, and others 
in short, men from practically every folk of the nearer and central 

The whole army of Darius was said to contain 40,000 
cavalry, 1,000,000 infantry, and 200 scythe-bearing chariots. 
There were only a few elephants, some 15, belonging to the 
Indians from the nearer side of the Indus. With these 
forces Darius had encamped at Gaugamela, near the river 
Bumodus, about 600 stadia [some 67 miles] distant from 
the city of Arbela, in a district everywhere level ; for what- 
ever ground thereabouts was unlevel and unfit for the evo- 
lutions of cavalry had been leveled by the Persians, and 

i The Plains of Gaugamela where the battle occurred were some 60 miles 
west of Arbela ; but Darius had his headquarters in the latter city, just be- 
fore the combat. 

a As opposed to the European Scythians north of the Danube. 


made fit for the easy rolling of chariots and for the gallop- 
ing of horses. For there were some who persuaded Darius 
that he had forsooth got the worst of it in the [previous] 
battle at Issus, from the narrowness of the battle field; and 
this he was easily induced to believe. 

Arrian, "Alexander," book III, chaps. 9 and 10. Bohn Translation 

Alexander realized that his victory of Issus had decided nothing. 
To render himself the undisputed Emperor of Asia, it was necessary 
to rout the " Great King " in fair battle, with all Darius's hordes- 
men about him. Such a victory would strike lasting terror into 
the Orientals. Alexander therefore prepared for this decisive battle 
with a caution which seldom characterized his movements. The 
results were the direct fruit of his carefully exercised skill. 

When Alexander had received full information from the 
Persian scouts that had been captured [as to Darius's army] 
he remained four days in the place where he had received 
the news and gave his army rest after the march. . . . [Then 
he advanced cautiously] : and when he was only SO stadia 
[about 3^ miles] from the enemy, and his army was already 
marching down from a hill . . . catching sight of the Bar- 
barians he caused his phalanx there to halt. Calling a coun- 
cil of the " Companions," generals, cavalry officers, and leaders 
of the Greek allies, and mercenaries, he deliberated with them, 
whether he should lead the phalanx without delay, as most 
of them urged him to do, or whether, as Parmenio 1 thought 
preferable, to encamp there for the present, to reconnoiter 
all the ground, in order to see if there was anything to ex- 
cite suspicion, or impede their progress, or if there were 
ditches or stakes planted out of sight, as well as to get a 
clearer idea of the enemies' tactical arrangements. Parme- 
nio's opinion prevailed, so they encamped there, drawn up 
in battle order [and Alexander with a small escort recon- 
* An experienced and elderly general. 


noitered, then returned and urged his captains to valor, and 
bade them each rouse their own men to great exertions"). 

He assured them that in this battle the stake was not as 
before either Lower Syria, or Phoenicia, or Egypt, but it was 
the whole of Asia. 3?or he asserted that " this battle would 
decide who were to be the riders of the continent." It was not 
needful for him to stir them up by many words this en- 
couragement they had by nature ; but they should see that 
each man took care, so far as in him lay, to preserve disci- 
pline in the critical moment of action, and to keep perfect 
silence when it was expedient to advance in silence. On 
the other hand, they should see that each man uttered a 
mighty shout, when it was advantageous to shout ; and to 
raise as terrible a battle cry as possible, when a suitable op- 
portunity came to raise the battle cry. He told them to 
take pains to obey his orders quickly, and to transmit orders 
they had received to the ranks with all rapidity ; each man 
remejnbering that both as an individual and in the aggre- 
gate he was increasing the general danger if he was slack 
in his duty, and that he was helping to victory if he strove 
to the uttermost. 

Alexander then ordered his soldiers to take dinner and to 
rest themselves. It is said that Parmenio came to him in 
his tent and urged him to make a night attack upon the Per- 
sians, saying that thus he would strike them unprepared and 
in a state of confusion, and at the same time more liable to 
a panic in the dark. But [Alexander replied . . . ] that, 
" It would be mean to steal a victory ; and he ought to con- 
quer in open day and without artifice." 

[His reasons for this answer were probably not vainglory, but 
because if any accident befell and the Macedonians were worsted, 
they, as strangers in the country, would probably be caught in the 
night and surrounded by their foes.] 1 

1 Besides, the moral effect of a victory over Darius if gained in fair fight 
would be vastly greater. 


Arrian, " Alexander," book III, chaps. 11-14. Bohn Translation 

Alexander won this decisive battle by using his phalanx with 
admirable effect in restraining the charges of the enemy, while with 
his dashing cavalry he penetrated the Barbarian lines. He par- 
ticularly directed his charge against the position of Darius himself, 
well knowing after an experience at the earlier battle of Issus 
that if once their king were put to flight, the Orientals would be- 
come demoralized. 

[Darius drew up his men, stationing himself with his picked 
Persians in the center, on either side a host of Greek mercenaries 
and Indian auxiliaries. Strengthening the center were many Baby- 
lonians. On the left wing besides the masses of Asiatic hordes- 
men were 100 scythe-bearing chariots ; on the right the Medes, 
Sacse, and many other brave tribal contingents. The Barbarian 
host far outflanked the inferior numbers of Alexander. 

Alexander posted on his left the confederate Greeks and the 
Thessalian cavalry under Parmenio, in the center his phalanx, 
to the right his hypaspists (semi-light infantry) and his " Compan- 
ion" Macedonian cavalry, his best corps. Covering the flanks to 
guard against a rear attack were some special divisions of cavalry, 
archers, and javelin men.] 

How the Battle Opened 

When the armies drew near each other, Darius * and the 
men especially around Mm were observed opposite Alex- 
ander himself and his royal squadron of cavalry. Alexan- 
der led his own army more towards the right, and the 
Persians marched parallel along with him, far outflanking 
him upon their left. Then the Scythian cavalry rode along 
the line and came into conflict with the front men of 
Alexander's army ; nevertheless he still continued to march 
towards the right, and almost entirely got beyond the 
ground that had been cleared and leveled by the Persians. 

1 Doubtless in a very splendid and conspicuous chariot. 


Then Darius, fearing that his chariots would become useless 
if the Macedonians advanced upon the uneven ground, or- 
dered the front ranks of his left wing to ride round the 
right wing of the Macedonians, where Alexander was com- 
manding, to prevent him from marching his wing any fur- 

[This led to countermoves by Alexander and precipitated 
a general cavalry engagement; the Greeks suffered severely, 
but sustained the assaults, and] assailing the enemy violently 
squadron by squadron, succeeded in pushing them out of 
rank. Meanwhile the Barbarians launched the scy thed-char- 
iots against Alexander himself, to throw his phalanx into 
confusion ; but in this they were grievously deceived. For 
as soon as they approached the [Macedonian] javelin men, 
who had been posted in front of the ' Companion J cavalry, 
hurled their darts at some of the horses ; others they seized 
by the reins and pulled the drivers off, and standing round 
the horses killed them. Yet some got right through the 
ranks ; for the men stood apart, and opened their ranks, as 
they had been taught, wherever the chariots attacked. 
Thus commonly the chariots went through safely, and their 
drivers were unhurt, but the [rear guard] later overpowered 

Alexander charges Himself 

As soon as Darius set his whole battle line in motion, 
Alexander ordered Aretes to attack those who were riding 
clear around his right wing ; and up to that time he was 
himself leading his men in column. But when the Per- 
sians made a break in the front line of their army, when 
their cavalry charged to aid those executing the flanking 
movement, Alexander wheeled towards the gap, and form- 
ing a wedge as it were of the ' Companion ' cavalry and of the 
part of the phalanx which was posted here, he led them 
with a quick charge, and a loud battle cry straight twoards 


Darius. Then came a short hand-to-hand tn&e'e j but when 
the Macedonian horse, led by Alexander himself, pressed 
on vigorously, thrusting themselves against the Persians 
and striking their faces with their spears, and -when the 
Macedonian phalanx in dense array, bristling with long 
pikes, had joined in the attack, general terror smote Darius, 
whose courage already had been shaken ; so that he was the 
first to turn and flee. Likewise the Persians who were try- 
ing to outflank, panic-stricken at the vigorous attack of 
Aretes, took to flight 5 and in this quarter the Macedonians 
chased after and slaughtered the fugitives. 

The Final Rout of the Asiatics 

[Elsewhere on the battle field, however, the Persians 
pressed boldly; broke through the Macedonian line and 
began to plunder Alexander's camp ; while others attacked 
Parmenio's division on the flank, putting it in great straits. 
At the news of Parrnenio's peril] Alexander turned back 
from the pursuit, and wheeling round with the < Companion 9 
cavalry 1 led them at full speed against the Barbarian's right 
wing. Here ensued the most obstinately contested cavalry 
fight in the whole battle. For drawn up by squadrons, the 
foreigners wheeled round in deep column, and falling on 
Alexander's men face to face, no longer relied on javelin 
casting, or skillful deploying of horses, as is usual in cav- 
alry battles, but every man for himself strove desperately 
to break through what stood in his way, as his only means 
of safety. Here about 60 of Alexander's ' Companions' fell 
[and several leaders] were wounded. But these foes, too, 
Alexander overcame ; and such as could force their way 
through his ranks fled with all their might. 

Meantime [ere Alexander could come to their help] the 

lit shows a wonderful state of discipline that the " Companion " horse 
Just after winning one battle could be diverted to another. 


Thessalian cavalry [under Parmenio] in a splendid struggh 
were not falling short of Alexander's own success in the 
combat. For the Barbarians on the right wing were already 
beginning to fly when he caine on the scene of [this] con- 
flict; so that again he wheeled, and started in pursuit of 
Darius once more, keeping up the chase while daylight 
lasted. [After resting his men till midnight, Alexander 
pursued again all next day, but did not take the king, for] 
Darius went on fleeing without any rest. However, the 
money and all his other wealth were captured, likewise his 
chariot; and his spear and bow were also taken, as they 
had been after Issus. 

Of Alexander's men about 100 were killed and more than 
1000 of his horses ; either from wounds or exhausted in the 
pursuit. ... Of the Barbarians there are said to have been 
300,000 slain, and far more taken prisoners than were killed. 1 



j&sehines's Oration, " Against Ctesiphon " 

The victories of Alexander over Darius, reported successively in 
Greece, struck both his Mends and foes with unparalleled aston- 
ishment. This is voiced (330 B.O.) in the speech by JSschines, 
Demosthenes's opponent, which called forth the latter's famous 
" Oration on the Crown." The Great King of Persia had passed 
for centuries as almost a god in power and prosperity. 

Of all the strange and unexpected things possible, what 
is there that has not befallen in our day ? Our lives have 
transcended the limits of humanity ; we are born to serve 
as a theme for tales incredible to men after us. For be- 
hold, is not the king of Persia himself he who digged 

!The statement by Alexander's other biographer, Curtius, 40,000 Per- 
sians and about 390 Macedonians slain, is far more within bounds oi 


through Athos and bridged the Hellespont he who de- 
manded earth and water of the Hellenes, who dared to 
declare himself in his dispatches " Lord of all Peoples from 
the Sunrise to the Sunset," is not he now struggling, not 
for Ms lordship over the nations, but actually for his own 
personal safety ? 


Arrian, " Alexander/' book IV, chap. 8. Bohn Translation 

As Alexander passed from victory to victory, and seemed more 
than ever the favorite of the gods, it was only human that his 
head should become turned, especially as he was now sur- 
rounded by servile Oriental flatterers. As a result he began to 
exhibit an irresponsible spirit, and to give way to fits of passion 
that sometimes culminated in real crimes. The most famous of 
these crimes was the murder of Olitus, a .general and friend who 
had saved his life at the battle of the G-ranicus (334 B.C.). The 
crime occurred at the Macedonian camp in the 1 eart of Asia (Sog- 
diana) in 328 B.C. 

The Macedonians kept a feast day to Dionysus, and on 
that day Alexander was wont to offer nim sacrifice each 
year. . . . Now it befell that the drinking party on this oc- 
casion had already gone on too long for Alexander had made 
innovations even in regard to drinking, imitating overmuch 
the custom of the Barbarians and in the midst of the 
carouse a discussion had arisen about the twin gods [Castor 
and Polydeuces] . . . some, of thpse present to flatter Alex- 
ander, asserting that " they were in no wise worthy to com- 
pare with him and his exploits ! " Such men have always 
destroyed and will not cease to ruin the interests of those 
who happen to be reigning. In their carousal they did not 
even refrain from comparing him to Heracles ; saying that 
" envy stood in the way of the living getting the honors 
due them from their associates." 


It was generally known that Clitus [a most trusted and 
important officer] had long been vexed at Alexander for the 
change in his style of living in excessive imitation of foreign 
customs, and at those who nattered him with their speech. 
At that time, too, heing heated with wine, he would not 
suffer them either to insult the deity, or, by deprecating the 
deeds of ancient heroes, confer on Alexander this gratifica- 
tion which deserved no thanks. He affirmed that Alex- 
ander's deeds were neither in fact at all so great or marvel- 
ous as the others represented; nor had he wrought them 
himself, but for the most part they were the deeds of the 
Macedonians. [This speech annoyed Alexander ; and some 
present retorted by declaring Philip's auctions had been 
nothing marvelous . . .] to which Clitus, unable to contain 
himself, replied by putting Philip's deeds in the first rank, 
and deprecating Alexander and his deeds. Clitus was now 
quite drunken . . . and even reviled the king, because he 
had saved his life in the cavalry mle with the Persians at 
the Granicus. Then indeed, arrogantly stretching out his 
right hand, he asserted, "This hand, Alexander, saved 

Alexander now could no longer endure his drunken insolence, 
but leaped up against him in fury ; but his boon companions 
restrained him. As Clitus did not stop his insults, Alexander 
shouted out for his "shield bearers "* to attend him; but no 
one obeyed him [in view of his condition. . . . ] Then his com- 
panions could restrain him no longer. According to some ac- 
counts he sprang up and snatched a javelin from one of his 
body-guards; according to others a long pike from one of his 
other guards with which he struck Clitus and killed him. . . . 
[According to one account] Clitus was led away by Ptolemy, 
son of Lagus, through the gateway beyond the wall and 
ditch of the citadel where the quarrel occurred. Then Clitus, 
who could not control himself, went back again; and falling 
1 His personal guards. ....... 


in with Alexander, who was calling out for Clitus I " ex- 
claimed, " Alexander, here I am Clitus ! " Thereupon he 
was struck with a long pike and killed. 

[The remorse of Alexander for this deed was terrible; 
some accounts say] he propped the pike against the wall 
with the intent of falling upon, it himself, thinking it was 
not proper for him to live, who had killed his friend, while 
mastered by wine. . . . He ceased not calling himself " the 
murderer of his friend," and for three days rigidly abstained 
from food and drink, and paid no attention to his personal 

[His flatterers presently comforted him, however, urging that 
Clitus had been doomed by divine justice, and had brought on his 
own fate and Alexander recovered his spirits and resumed the 
leadership of the army.] 



Arrian " Alexander " book VH, chap. 4. Bohn Translation 

Alexander had gone forth as the Captain General of Hellas to 
avenge the invasion of Xerxes. As victory came to him beyond 
expectation, his views gradually changed. He wished to be in a 
manner " Emperor " of the whole world, and to fuse East and 
West into one great civilized society. To this end he strove to break 
down the social barriers betwixt Hellene and Barbarian. The 
task would have proved a supremely difficult one even for an 
Alexander, and his sudden death practically put an end to the 
highly interesting experiment. 

In Susa [after his return from the far East] he celebrated 
both his own wedding and those of his companions. He 
himself married Barsine, the eldest daughter of Darius, and 
according to [his biographer] Aristobulus, besides her yet 
another Parysatis, the youngest daughter of Darius. He 
had already married Roxana, daughter of Oxyartes the 


Bactrian. 1 [To each of his leading generals he gave a nobh 
Asiatic lady to wife.] Likewise to the rest of his ' Compan- 
ions ' he gave the choicest daughters of the Persians and 
Medes to the number of 80. The weddings were celebrated 
after the Persian manner, seats being placed in a row for the 
bridegrooms; and after the banquet the brides came in and 
seated themselves each one near her own husband. The 
bridegrooms took them by the right hand and kissed them; 
the king being the first to begin, for the weddings were all 
conducted in the same way. 

This appeared the most popular thing which Alexander 
ever did; and it proved his affection for his < Companions.' 
Each man took his own bride and led her away ; and on all 
without exception Alexander bestowed dowries. He also 
ordered that the names of all the other Macedonians who 
had married Asiatic women should be registered. They 
were over 10,000 in number ; and to these Alexander made 
presents on account of their weddings. 

How Alexander rewarded his Veterans 

He thought it a good opportunity now to discharge the 
debts of all his soldiers ; to that end he ordered that a reg- 
ister should be made of how much each man owed in order 
that they might get the money. At first only a few regis- 
tered [many fearing this was a device to catch spendthrifts, 
whereupon Alexander complained they were wrong in dis- 
trusting him]. Accordingly he had tables placed in camp 
with money upon them ; and he appointed paymasters. He 
ordered the debts of all who showed a money bond to be 
discharged without the debtors' names being registered. 
Thus the men believed Alexander was sincere ; and the fact 
they were not known was even greater pleasure than the 
mere getting out of debt. This presentation to the army is 
said to have amounted to 20,000 talents [over $20,000,000]. 
1 Alexander was thus setting up a harem like an Oriental king. 


He also gave special presents to particular individuals, ac- 
cording as each man was held in honor for his conspicuous 
merit or valor in crises of danger. [Thus many received 
golden chaplets of honor.] 

The Enlisting of Asiatics in the Army 

The viceroys from the newly built cities and the rest of 
the conquered lands came [now] to him, bringing with them 
the youths just growing into manhood to the number of 
30,000 all of the same age, whom Alexander called 
Epigoni [i.e. Successors], They had been accoutered with 
the Macedonian arms, and trained in the Macedonian mili- 
tary system. It is said their coming exasperated the Mace- 
donians, who thought that Alexander was contriving by 
every means in his power to free himself from future need 
of their services. For the same reason, also, the sight of his 
Median dress was no small cause of dissatisfaction to them ; 
and the weddings, celebrated in the Persian fashion, were 
displeasing to most of them, even some of those who were 
married, although they had been greatly honored by being 
put on a level with the ling, in the marriage ceremony. 
They were disgusted that [many Asiatic] horsemen had 
been distributed among the squadrons of the ' Companion > 
cavalry ; as many of them at least as seemed to excel in 
reputation, stature, or any other good quality, and that a 
fifth cavalry division was added to these troops, not composed 
wholly of Barbarians ; but the whole body of cavalry was 
increased in number, and men were picked from the Barba- 
rians and put into it. ... [Barbarian footmen were also en- 
rolled] and Macedonian spears were given them in place of 
their native javelins with thongs attached. All this of- 
fended the Macedonians, who thought that Alexander was 
becoming Asiatic in his ideas, and holding the Macedonians 
as well as their customs in contempt 


[As a result of this discontent there was presently a formidable 
mutiny among the Macedonians which Alexander suppressed with 
some difficulty.] 

Arrian, " Alexander/' book VH, chap. 28. Bohn Translation 

Arrian wrote at about 140 A.D. He drew his account of 
Alexander from reliable sources, and in this opinion of the great 
Macedonian's character we may fairly believe we have the estimate 
which men of antiquity passed upon him, both the view of 
his contemporaries and of the centuries following. 

Alexander lived 32 years and 8 months. He had reigned 
[when he died] 12 years and 8 months. He was very 
handsome in person, and much devoted to exertion, very 
active in mind, heroic in courage, exceeding fond of incur- 
ring danger, 1 and strictly observant of his duty to the gods. 
In regard to the pleasures of his body, he had perfect 
self-control ; and of those of the mind, praise was the only 
one of which he was insatiate. He was notably clever 
in realizing the thing to be done, while others were still 
groping after it; and very successful in conjecturing from 
observed facts what was likely to happen. In marshaling, 
arming, and ruling an army he was exceeding skillful, 
and noteworthy for rousing the courage of his soldiers, 
filling them with hopes of success, and dispelling their 
fear in the midst of danger by his own freedom from fear. 
Therefore even what he had to do in uncertainty of the 
result, he did with the uttermost boldness. 

Again he was extremely clever in getting the start of 
his enemies, and snatching from them their advantages 
by secretly forestalling them, before any one even feared 
what was going to happen. He likewise was most steadfast 
in holding to his agreements and settlements, as well as 

2 He exposed himself recklessly in battle. 


prudent against being entrapped by deceivers. Finally, 
he was very sparing in the expenditure of money, for the 
gratification of his own pleasures 5 but he was exceeding 
bountiful in spending it for the weal of his comrades. 

That Alexander should have committed errors in conduct 
from impetuosity or wrath, and that he should have been 
induced to behave like the [despotic] Persian monarchs to 
an improper degree, I do not think remarkable con- 
sidering his youth and his unbroken career of good fortune ; 
but I am certain that Alexander was the only one of the 
ancient kings, who from nobility of character repented of his 
errors. I do not think that even his tracing his origin to a 
god [Zejis Ammon] was a great error on Alexander's part, if 
it was not perhaps merely a device to induce his subjects 
to show him reverence. His adoption of the Persian mode 
of dress also seems to me to have been a political device 
as regards the Barbarians, that the king need not appear 
utterly alien to them ; and touching the Macedonians show 
that he had a refuge from their rashness and temper. 

[It is said that Alexander] used to have long drinking 
parties ; but this was not to enjoy the wine, as he was not 
a mighty drinker, but to show his sociability and friendly 
feeling to his " Companions." 

[And after a warm eulogy of Alexander, notwithstanding 
a recognition of his shortcomings, Arrian asserts] : for my 
own part, I think there was at that time no race of men, 
no city, not one individual even, to whom his name and 
fame had not penetrated. Therefore it seems to me that a 
hero so totally unlike any other human being could not have been 
born save by the agency of the God. This is attested by the 
honor paid him by men up to the present time [about 140 
A.D.], and by the remembrance which is still held of him 
as more than human, 1 

1 Alexander was adored as a god (Theos) almost from the moment ol 
his death. , 


The period following the death of Alexander and extending down 
to the period of the Roman Conquest is of great importance in the 
history of the world. The work of the Ptolemies in Hellenizing 
Egypt, and of the Seleucidse in making Syria almost into a Grecian 
land has a noteworthy and permanent significance. Unfortu- 
nately, however, our literary sources are of a kind that do not adapt 
themselves readily to brief quotation. In this Hellenistic era, it 
should be remembered, we are in an age when the city-states of old 
Hellas (although by no means extinct or utterly enslaved) are 
completely overshadowed by the " Kings " of the various Macedo- 
nian dynasties, which had established themselves in the nearer Ori- 
ent. About all that can be done in this chapter is to give some 
impression of the magnificent capitals of these monarchs, the splen- 
dor of their courts, and their modes of warfare. Many important 
topics, such as e.g. the Achssan League, the development of learning 
at Alexandria, and the diffusion of the Greek language and modes 
of thought through Asia, are perforce omitted. 

Polybius, " History," book V, chaps. 84-86. Shuckburgh's Translation 

During the age of " Hellendom * the main reliance in battle was 
on the phalanx, trained in the Macedonian fashion, but often less 
skillfully handled than Alexander had handled his infantry. A new 
and very picturesque military factor was the elephants, the use 
whereof had been learned from the Hindoos. When properly under 
control, a war elephant was almost irresistible, the trouble came, 
of course, when he grew unmanageable in the roar of battle and 
charged recklessly back into his own lines. 

[In a battle fought at Eaphia in Palestine in 217 B.C. between 


Ptolemy IV of Egypt, and Antiochus the Great of Syria, the ele- 
phants played an important part.] 

Ptolemy opened the battle with a charge of elephants. 
Only some few of them, however, came to close quarters with 
the foe ; seated on these the soldiers in the howdahs main- 
tained a brilliant fight, lunging at and striking each other 
with crossed pikes. But the elephants fought still more 
brilliantly, using all their strength in the encounter, and 
pushing against each other forehead to forehead. 

The way elephants fight is this : they get their tusks en- 
tangled and jammed, and then push against one another with 
all their might, trying to make each other yield ground, un- 
til one of them, proving superior in strength, has pushed 
aside the other's trunk ; and when he can once get a side 
blow at his enemy, he pierces him with his tusks, as a bull 
would with his horns. 

Now most of Ptolemy's animals, as is the way with African 
elephants, were afraid to face the fight ; for they cannot stand 
the smell and trumpeting of the Indian elephants [such as 
Antiochus had], but were frightened at their size and 
strength, I suppose, and ran away from them at once, with- 
out waiting to come near them. This is exactly what hap- 
pened on this occasion ; and upon their being thrown into 
confusion and being driven back upon their own lines, 
Ptolemy's guard gave way before the rush of the animals ; 
while Antiochus, wheeling his men to avoid the elephants 
[charged Ptolemy from another quarter], 

[On the other side of the battle, however, the Egyptian phalanx 
defeated the Syrians, and Antiochus was forced to retire.] 

Three of his elephants were killed on the field ; and two 
died afterward of their wounds. On Ptolemy's side sixteen 
of his elephants were killed, and most of the others captured. 1 

i Antiochus had gone into the battle with 102 elephants, and Ptolemy 
with 73. 



Strabo, "Geography," book XVI, chap. 11, 5 ff. Bohn Translation 

Next to Alexandria, Antioch was undoubtedly the leading city 
of Hellendom. Besides being the capital of the great Seleucid 
monarchy, it was the head of a very important caravan route from 
the East, and the seat of extensive manufactures and commerce. 
It was an elegantly built city of about 500,000 inhabitants. We 
do not possess any such careful descriptions of it as we have of 
Alexandria; yet one can form a good idea of its great size and 

Antioch is the metropolis of Syria. A palace was built 
there for the princes of the country. It is not much inferior 
in riches and magnitude to Alexandria in Egypt. 

Seleuces Nicator [king of Syria, 312-280 B.C.] settled 
here the descendants of Triptolemus. 1 On this account the 
people of Antioch regard [this legendary personage] as a 
hero, and celebrate a festival in his honor on Mount Cassius 
[near the city]. They say that when he was sent by the 
Argives in search of lo, he wandered through Cilicia, and 
settled with them on the banks of the Orontes [on the site 
of Antioch]. 

Daphne, a town of moderate size, is distant from Antioch 
about 40 stadia [four and a half miles]. Here is a large 
forest, with a thick covert of shade and springs of water 
flowing through it. In the midst of the forest is a sacred 
grove, which is a sanctuary, and a temple of Apollo and 
Artemis. It is the custom of the inhabitants of Antioch 
and the region to assemble here for public festivals. The 
forest is 80 stadia [nearly nine miles] in circuit. 

The river Orontes flows near the city. Its source is in 
Coele-Syria. Having taken its course underground, it reap- 

1( This is one of many attempts to connect the Grecian cities of the Ori- 
ent with Old Greece, by a caref ally fostered myth. 


pears, traverses the land of Apameia to Antioch, approaches 
the latter city, and then descends to the sea at Seleucia. 
The name of the river was formerly the "Typhon," but was 
changed to the Orontes from the name of the man who 
built a bridge over it. 

On the west [of Antioch] the sea, into which the Orontes 
empties, lies below Antioch. Seleucia [the port of Antioch] 
is distant from the sea 40 stadia and Antioch is 120 stadia 
[about thirteen miles]. The ascent by the river to Antioch 
is performed in one day. 


Strabo, " Geography," book XVII, chap. 1, 6 ff. Bohn Translation 

If Athens was the leading city of Greece in the classical period, 
Alexandria had surely the same honor during the age of " Hellen- 
dom." In it Bast and West, North and South, came together as 
nowhere else in the Oriental world. No other city did so much 
to give the general stamp of Greek civilization to the nearer East. 
The description by Strabo conveys a tolerably complete idea of 
the elegance, wealth, and magnitude of this city of some 600,000 
odd inhabitants. 

When Alexander [the Great] arrived in Egypt, and per- 
ceived the location [of Alexandria] and its advantages, he 
resolved to build the city on the natural harbor. The pros- 
perity of the place which ensued, it is said was presaged by 
something that occurred while the plan of the city was be- 
ing traced. The architects were busy marking out the line 
of the walls with chalk, and had consumed it all, when the 
king arrived ; upon which the dispensers of flour supplied 
the workmen with a part of the flour which was provided 
for their own use; and this substance was used in tracing 
the greater part of the divisions of the streets. This 
they said was a good omen for the city. 

The advantages of the city are of various kinds. The 


site is washed by two seas, on the north by what is called 
the Egyptian Sea, and on the south, by the sea of the lake 
Mareia, which is also called Mareotis. This lake is filled 
by many canals from the Nile, both by those above and 
those at the sides, through which a greater quantity of mer- 
chandise is imported than by those communicating with the 
sea. Hence the harbor on the lake is richer than the sea- 
side harbor. The exports of Alexandria exceed the imports. 
This any person can ascertain by watching the arrival and 
departure of the merchant ships, and observing how much 
heavier or lighter their cargoes are than when they depart 
or return. 

The Healthfullness of Alexandria, 

But besides the wealth won from the merchandise landed 
at the two harbors, the fine air of the city is worthy of note. 
This results from the city being on two sides surrounded by 
water, and from the favorable effects of the rise of the Nile. 
Other cities, indeed, situated near the lakes, have a heavy, 
suffocating atmosphere during the summer heats, and the 
lakes at their margins become swampy by the evaporation 
occasioned by the sun's heat. When a large quantity of 
moisture is exhaled from the swamps, a noxious vapor 
arises, and is the cause of malignant disorders. But at 
Alexandria, at the beginning of summer, the Nile, being 
full, fills the lake also, and thus leaves no marshy matter 
which is likely to cause noxious exhalations. At the same 
time, too, the Etesian winds blow from the north, across a 
broad reach of the sea, and the Alexandrians as a result pass 
the summer right pleasantly. 

Form and Aspect of Alexandria 

The shape of the city is that of a chlamys or military 
cloak. The sides, which give the length, are surrounded by 


water and are about 30 stadia in extent ; but the isthmuses, 
which determine the breadth of the sides, are each of seven 
or eight stadia, bounded on one side by the sea, on the 
other by the lake. 1 The whole city is intersected with 
streets for the passage of horsemen and chariots. Two of 
these are exceeding broad, over a plethrum in breadth, 2 and 
cut one another at right angles. The city contains also very 
beautiful public parks and royal palaces, which occupy a 
fourth or even a third of its whole extent. For as each of 
the kings was desirous of adding some embellishment to the 
places dedicated to the public use, so besides the buildings 
already existing each of them erected a building at his 
own expense. Hence the expression of the poet [Homer] 
may be applied. 

" One after another springs." [" Odyssey, 11 XVII, 266.] 
All the buildings are connected one with another, and these 
also with what are beyond it. 

The Royal Palaces 

The Museum is a part of the palaces. It has a public 
walk, and a place furnished with seats, and a large hall, in 
which men of learning, who belong to the Museum, take 
their common meal. This community possesses also prop- 
erty in common ; and a priest, formerly appointed by the 
kings, but at present [Augustus's day] by Caesar, presides 
over the Museum. 

A part of the palace compound is called the Sema, an in- 
closure containing the tombs of the kings and also of Alex- 
ander the Great. Ptolemy [the First] took the body of 
Alexander and deposited it in Alexandria in the place where 
it now lies ; though not indeed in the same coffin, for the 

1 Alexandria thus measured a little over three miles long by a little un- 
der one mile in width. 

2 A little over 100 feet The streets of most ancient cities were exces- 
sively narrow. 


present one is of hyalus (alabaster ?), while Ptolemy placed 
it in one of gold ; [but subsequently it was plundered]. 

The Harbors 

In the great harbor at the entrance, on the right hand, are 
the island and the Pharos [lighthouse] tower, on the left 
are the reef of rocks and the promontory Lochias, with a 
palace upon it ; at the entrance on the other hand are the 
inner palaces which are continuous with those on the Lo- 
chias, and contain many painted apartments and groves. 
[Near by] is the theater, then the Poseidonium, a kind of 
elbow projecting out from the merchant harbor [Emporium] 
with a temple of Poseidon upon it. [There follow along the 
water front a vast succession of docks, military and mercan- 
tile harbors, magazines, also canals reaching the lake Mare- 
6tis, and many magnificent temples, an amphitheater, stadium, 

Some Notable Buildings and Streets 

In short, the city of Alexandria abounds with public and 
sacred buildings. The most beautiful of the former is the 
Gymnasium, with porticoes exceeding a stadium in extent. 
In the middle of it are the court of justice and groves. 
Here, too, is a "Paneium," an artificial mound of the shape 
of a fir cone, resembling a pile of rock, to the top of which 
there is an ascent by a spiral path. From the summit may 
be seen the wide city lying all around and beneath it. The 
"Wide Street" extends in length along the Gymnasium to 
the Canopic gate. Next is the " Hippodrome " (race course), 
as it is called, and other buildings. After passing through 
the Hippodrome is the Nicopolis [a suburb] which contains 
buildings fronting on the sea, not less numerous than a reg- 
ular city. 

The greatest advantage which the city [of Alexandria] 


possesses arises from its being the only place in all Egypt 
well situated by nature for communication with the sea 
by its fine harbor, and with the land, by the river by means 
of which everything is easily transported ... to the city, 
which is the greatest mart in the habitable world. 


Athenaeus (quoting Callixenus the Rhodian), book V, chap. 25. Bohn 

When Ptolemy (II) Philadelphia became king of Egypt (285 
B.C.), he celebrated his accession by a magnificent procession and 
festival at Alexandria. The following is only a part of the descrip- 
tion of the very elaborate spectacle. The mere enumeration of all 
this pomp, power, and treasure conveys a striking idea of the riches 
of the Ptolemaic kings, the splendor of their court, and the re- 
sources of their kingdom. 

First I will describe the tent prepared inside the, citadel, 
apart from the place provided to receive the soldiers, artisans, 
and foreigners. For it was wonderfully beautiful, and worth 
talking of. Its size was such that it could accommodate one 
hundred and thirty couches [for banqueters] arranged in a 
circle. [The roof was upborne on wooden pillars fifty 
cubits high of which four were arranged to look like palm 
trees.] On the outside of the pillars ran a portico, adorned 
with a peristyle on three sides with a vaulted roof. Here it 
was the feasters could sit down. The interior of this was 
surrounded with scarlet curtains ; in the middle of the space, 
however, were suspended strange hides of beasts, strange 
both for their variegated color, and their [remarkable] size. 
The part which surrounded this portico in the open air was 
shaded by myrtle trees and laurels, and other suitable 

As for the whole floor, it was strewed with every kind of 


flower 5 for Egypt, thanks to its mild climate, and the f ond- 
ness of its people for gardening, produces abundantly, and 
all the year round, those flowers which are scarce in other 
lands, and then come only at special seasons. Roses, white 
lilies, and many another flowers never lack in that country. 
Wherefore, although this entertainment took place in 
midwinter, there was a show of flowers that was quite in- 
credible to the foreigners. For flowers of which one could 
not easily have found enough to make one chaplet in any 
other city, were here in vast abundance, to make chaplets 
for the guests, . . , and were thickly strewn over the whole 
floor of the tent; so as really to give the appearance of a 
most divine meadow. 

By the posts around the tent were placed animals carved 
in marble by the first artists, a full hundred in number ; 
while in the spaces between the posts were hung pictures by 
the Sicyonian painters. And alternately with these were 
carefully selected images of every kind, and garments em- 
broidered with gold and splendid cloaks, some having por- 
traits of the kings of Egypt wrought upon them, and some 
stories from mythology. Above these were placed gold and 
silver shields alternately. 

[A long account follows of the golden couches, golden tripods, 
silver dishes, and lavers, jewel-set cups, etc., provided for the 

And now to go on to the shows and processions exhibited ; 
for they passed through the Stadium of the city. First of 
all there went the procession of Lucifer, 1 for [the f te] began 
at the time when that star first appears. [Then came 
processions in honor of the several gods.] In the Dionysus 
procession, first of all went the Sileni to keep off the multi- 
tude, some clad in purple cloaks, and some in scarlet ones. 

l Not to be confused with the character of the same name in mediaeval 
theology. This name was given to the planet Venus. 


These were followed by Satyrs, bearing gilded lamps made 
of ivy wood. After them came images of Victory, having 
golden wings, and they bore in their hands incense burners, 
six cubits in height, adorned with branches made of ivy 
wood and gold, and clad in tunics embroidered with figures 
of animals, and they themselves also had a deal of gold 
ornament about them. After them followed an altar six 
cubits high, a double altar, all covered with gilded ivy 
leaves, having a crown of vine leaves upon it all gold. Next 
came boys in purple tunics, bearing frankincense and myrrh, 
and saffron on golden dishes. And then advanced forty 
Satyrs, crowned with golden ivy garlands ; their bodies were 
painted some with purple, some with vermilion, and some 
with other colors. They wore each a golden crown, made to 
imitate vine leaves and ivy leaves. [Presently also came] 
Philiscus the Poet, who was a priest of Dionysus, and with 
him all the artisans employed in the service of that god; 
and following were the Delphian tripods as prizes to the 
trainers of the athletes, 1 one for the trainer of the youths, 
nine cubits high, the other for the trainer of the men, twelve 

The next was a four-wheeled wagon fourteen cubits high 
and eight cubits wide ; it was drawn by one hundred and 
eighty men. On it was an image of Dionysus -ten cubits 
high. He was pouring libations from a golden goblet, and 
had a purple tunic reaching to his feet. ... In front of 
him lay a Lacedaemonian goblet of gold, holding fifteen 
measures of wine, and a golden tripod, in which was a golden 
incense burner, and two golden bowls full of cassia and 
saffron ; and a shade covered it round adorned with ivy and 
vine leaves, and all other kinds of greenery. To it were 
fastened chaplets and fillets, and ivy wands, drums, turbans, 
and [actors'] masks. 

i The trainers of successful athletes naturally shared in some of the 
rewards of victory. 


[After many other wagons came one] twenty-five cubits 
long and fifteen broad 5 and this was drawn by six hundred 
men. On this wagon was a sack, holding three thousand 
measures of wine, and consisting of leopards' skins sewn 
together. This [sack] allowed its liquor to escape, and it 
gradually flowed over the whole road. 1 

[An endless array of similar wonders followed; also a vast 
number of palace servants displaying the golden vessels of the king ; 
twenty-four chariots drawn by four elephants each, the royal me- 
nagerie, twelve chariots drawn by antelopes, fifteen by buffaloes, 
eight by pairs of ostriches, eight by zebras ; also many mules, 
camels, etc., and twenty-four lions.] 

After these came a procession of troops, both horsemen 
and footmen, all superbly armed and appointed. There 
were 57,600 infantry, and 23,200 cavalry. All these marched 
in the procession ... all in their appropriate armor. . , . 

The cost of this great occasion was 2239 talents and 50 
minse. 2 

Athenaus (quoting Moschion), book V, chap. 40 ff. Bohn Translation 

In the Hellenistic age the art of shipbuilding was carried to 
high perfection. Instead of the trireme as the standard battleship 
came the " quinquereme " (five-banked) ; and vessels far larger 
were constructed for warlike or peaceful purposes. The ship here 
described was the wonder of its age. As will be observed, she seems 
to have had all the luxuries of a modern liner; but she was too 
large and expensive for any regular commercial use, and not fitted 
to be a warship. Consequently she had no successor. Hieron, her 
builder, reigned at Syracuse from about 270 to 216 B.C. 

Hieron, king of the Syracusans, was very active in ship- 
building, and built a great number of vessels to carry corn, 

1 An excited, scrambling Greco-Oriental crowd doubtless followed after 
this " float." 
3 Roughly speaking, about $2,600,000, a prodigious sum in ancient days. 


the construction of one of which I will describe. For the 
wood he caused such trees to be cut down on Mount JStna 
as would suffice for sixty triremes, and then he prepared 
nails and planks for the side and inside, some from Italy 
and some from Sicily. The cordage for the ropes he secured 
from Spain, hemp and pitch from the river Rhone, and many 
other useful things from all quarters. Shipwrights and 
carpenters, too, he collected. He made Archias, the Corin- 
thian, superintendent of them all, and bade them labor with 
zeal and earnestness, he himself devoting his days to watch- 
ing their progress. 

Thus he finished half the ship in six months, and every 
part of the vessel, as soon as it was finished, was at once 
covered over with plates of lead. There were three hundred 
workmen busy getting ready the timber, besides mere jour- 
neymen as helpers. As soon as this first portion [i.e. prob- 
ably the bare hull] was in shape, it was arranged to draw it 
down to the sea, there to be completed. After much inquiry 
as to the best way of launching, Archimedes, the great 
mechanician, launched it by himself with only a few people 
to aid. He had prepared a helix, 1 and with this drew the 
huge ship down to the sea. [It took six months more to 
complete the ship itself, after which Hieron labored on the 
interior fittings.] 

The ship was built with twenty banks of oars, and three 
entrances, the lowest to the hold which was reached by two 
long ladders, the next for persons who wished to reach the 
dining rooms, the third for the men-at-arms. On either 
side of the middle entrance were apartments for the men 
each with four couches, thirty in number. The supper 
room for the sailors could hold fifteen couches, and within 
it were three special chambers each with three couches. 
The kitchen was towards the vessel's stern. All these rooms 

i Literally a screw. No doubt some clever mechanical engine, perhaps 
with pulleys. 

[After many other wagons came one] twenty-five cubits 
long and fifteen broad 5 and this was drawn by six hundred 
men. On this wagon was a sack, holding three thousand 
measures of wine, and consisting of leopards' skins sewn 
together. This [sack] allowed its liquor to escape, and it 
gradually flowed over the whole road. 1 

[An endless array of similar wonders followed; also a vast 
number of palace servants displaying the golden vessels of the king j 
twenty-four chariots drawn by four elephants each, the royal me- 
nagerie, twelve chariots drawn by antelopes, fifteen by buffaloes, 
eight by pairs of ostriches, eight by zebras ; also many mules, 
camels, etc., and twenty-four lions.] 

After these came a procession of troops, both horsemen 
and footmen, all superbly armed and appointed. There 
were 57,600 infantry, and 23,200 cavalry. All these marched 
in the procession ... all in their appropriate armor. . , . 

The cost of this great occasion was 2239 talents and 50 
minae. 2 

Atbenaus (quoting Moschion), book V, chap. 40 ff. Bohn Translation 

In the Hellenistic age the art of shipbuilding was carried to 
high perfection. Instead of the trireme as the standard battleship 
came the " quinquereme " (five-banked); and vessels far larger 
were constructed for warlike or peaceful purposes. The ship here 
described was the wonder of its age. As will be observed, she seems 
to have had all the luxuries of a modern liner; but she was too 
large and expensive for any regular commercial use, and not fitted 
to he a warship. Consequently she had no successor. Hieron, her 
builder, reigned at Syracuse from about 270 to 216 B.O. 

Hieron, king of the Syracusans, was very active in ship- 
building, and built a great number of vessels to carry corn, 

1 An excited, scrambling Greco-Oriental crowd doubtless followed after 
this float." 

2 Roughly speaking, abont $ 2,500,000, a prodigious sum in ancient days. 


the construction of one of which I will describe* For the 
wood he caused such trees to he cut down on Mount JStna 
as would suffice for sixty triremes, and then he prepared 
nails and planks for the side and inside, some from Italy 
and some from Sicily. The cordage for the ropes he secured 
from Spain, hemp and pitch from the river Rhone, and many 
other .useful things from all quarters. Shipwrights and 
carpenters, too, he collected. He made Archias, the Corin- 
thian, superintendent of them all, and bade them labor with 
zeal and earnestness, he himself devoting his days to watch- 
ing their progress. 

Thus he finished half the ship in six months, and every 
part of the vessel, as soon as it was finished, was at once 
covered over with plates of lead. There were three hundred 
workmen busy getting ready the timber, besides mere jour- 
neymen as helpers. As soon as this first portion [le. prob- 
ably the bare hull] was in shape, it was arranged to draw it 
down to the sea, there to be completed. After much inquiry 
as to the best way of launching, Archimedes, the great 
mechanician, launched it by himself with only a few people 
to aid. He had prepared a helix, 1 and with this drew the 
huge ship down to the sea. [It took six months more to 
complete the ship itself, after which Hieron labored on the 
interior fittings.] 

The ship was built with twenty banks of oars, and three 
entrances, the lowest to the hold which was reached by two 
long ladders, the next for persons who wished to reach the 
dining rooms, the third for the men-at-arms. On either 
side of the middle entrance were apartments for the men 
each with four couches, thirty in number. The supper 
room for the sailors could hold fifteen couches, and within 
it were three special chambers each with three couches. 
The kitchen was towards the vessel's stern. All these rooms 

i Literally a screw. No doubt some clever mechanical engine, perhaps 
with pulleys. 

In this mosaic the whole story of the " Iliad " was depicted 
right marvelously. All the furniture, ceilings, and doors 
were executed and finished most admirably. 

Along the uppermost passage was a gymnasium 1 and 
walks, their appointments entirely corresponding to the 
great size of the vessel In them were beautiful gardens 
enriched with all manner of plants, and shaded by roofs of 
lead or tiles. There were also tents covered with boughs of 
white ivory and the vine, the roots drawing moisture from 
casks of earth, and watered just as were the gardens. . . . 
Next there was a temple sacred to Aphrodite, containing three 
couches, with a floor of agate and other most beautiful stones, 
... its wall and roof were made of cypress wood, its doors 
of ivory and citrus wood. It was exquisitely furnished with 
pictures and statues, and goblets and vases of every possible 

Also there was a drawing-room, with space for five couches ; 
in it was a bookcase and along the roof a [sun] clock 
There was, too, a bathroom having three brazen vessels for 
holding hot water, and a bath, beautifully variegated with 
marble. In the ship likewise were ten stalls for horses on 
each side of the walls, and by them fodder for the horses 
was kept, and the arms and outfit of the horsemen and the 
boys. [There was a great cistern for fresh watey near the 
bow and next to it] a large water-tight well for fish made of 
beams of wood and lead. It was kept full of sea water, and 
great numbers of fish were kept in it. 

In the vessel were eight towers . . . two in the stern, two 
at the head, the rest in the middle. [They were equipped 
with weapons for beating off an enemy.] A wall having 
buttresses and decks ran all through the ship, supported on 
trestles. On these decks was set a catapult, which flung a 

* Counted on* of the especially desirable features of the latest transat- 
lantic liners. 


stone weighing three talents [about 173 pounds] and an arrow 
twelve cnbits long. This engine was devised by Archimedes, 
and it could throw an arrow a stadium (circa 600 feet). 
[There were three masts outfitted with yards for fending off 
an enemy.] There were four wooden anchors and eight iron 
ones on the ship. The hold, though of prodigious depth, was 
pumped out by one man by means of a pulley, thanks to an 
engine invented by Archimedes. The name of the ship was 
the Syracusan, but when Hieron sent her to sea, he changed 
her name to the Alexandrian. 

As for crew [besides certain others] there were six hundred 
men. Their post was always at the bow of the ship watch- 
ing for the orders of the captain. . . . 

They put on board the ship 60,000 measures (medimni) 
of corn; 10,000 jars of Sicilian salt fish, 20,000 talents' 
weight of wool, and of other cargo 20,000 talents' weight 
also. Besides all this there were the provisions necessary 
for the crew. 1 Hieron, when he understood that there was 
no harbor in Sicily large enough [conveniently] to admit 
this ship, . . . made a present of it to Ptolemy, king of 
Egypt. 2 


Translated by Professor H. S. Palmer 

Oleanthes, the philosopher, lived from about 300 to 220 B.C. 
He was the pupil of Zeno, the founder of the famous Stoic school 
of thinkers. In this hymn addressed to the supreme God, we 
see how far the advanced Greek philosophers had proceeded from 
credulous belief in the old mythology. The hymn is purely mono- 
theistic ; the conception of the Deity here expressed is extremely 
noble (despite obvious pantheistic leanings) ; while if reduced to 

1 It has has been conjectured that tbe ship was of about 4000 modern 
gross tons; a sizable vessel to-day, and probably with her elaborate upper 
works more imposing than many far larger steamers. 

2 Probably she had been built for trading with Greece and Egypt and 
proved too large and expensive to be profitable. 


stanzas and with a few slight changes the words might be used in 
the. worship of various modern religious bodies. 

Most glorious of immortals, thou of many names, all 
powerful ever, hail ! On thee it is fit all men should call. 
For we come forth from thee, and have received the gift of 
imitative speech alone of all that live and move on earth. 
So will I make my song of thee, and chant thy power forever. 
Thee all this ordered universe, circling around the earth, 
follows as thou dost guide, and evermore is ruled by thee. 
For such an engine hast thou in thine unswerving hand 
the two-edged, blazing, ever living bolt that at its blow 
all nature trembles. Herewith thou guidest universal Reason 
the moving principle of all the world, joined with the 
great and lesser lights which being born so great, is high- 
est lord of all. 

Nothing occurs on earth, apart from thee, Lord, nor at 
the airy sacred pole, nor on the sea, save what the wicked 
work through lack of wisdom. But thou canst make the 
crooked straight, bring order out of disorder, and what is 
worthless is in thy sight worthy. For thou hast so conjoined 
to one all good and ill that out of all goes forth a single 
everlasting Eeason. This all the wicked seek to shun, un- 
happy men, who, ever longing to obtain a good, see not nor 
hear God's universal law, which, wisely heeded, would assure 
them noble life. They haste away, however, heedless of 
good, one here, one there ; some showing zeal in strife for 
honor, some turning recklessly towards gain, others to loose- 
ness and the body's pleasures. 

But thou, Zeus, giver of all, thou of the cloud, guide of 
the thunder, deliver men from baleful ignorance ! Scatter 
it, fathers, from our souls ; grant us to win that wisdom on 
which thou thyself relying suitably guidest all ; that thus 
being honored, we may return to thee our honor, singing thy 
works unceasingly; because there is no higher office fora 


man, nor for a god than ever rightly singing of universal 



Plutarch, "Life of Aratus," chaps. IV-IX 

Aratus (271 to 213 B.C.) was the virtual founder of the great- 
ness of the Achaean league. The adventures here recounted, of 
how he delivered his native Sicyon from a local tyrant, took place 
about 251 B.O, and form one of the most stirring and vivid pas- 
sages in Plutarch. Sicyon was only one of many old Greek towns, 
which in the third century B.O. suffered under petty despots. 
Sparta a little later was terribly afflicted in this way ; and they 
formed more or less of a scourge to the Greeks until the Koman 
conquest brought genuine relief. 

By this time Aratus, being grown a youth, was in much 
esteem, both for his noble birth and his spirit and disposi- 
tion, which, while neither insignificant nor wanting in en- 
ergy, were solid, and tempered with a steadiness of judgment 
beyond his years. For which reason the exiles had their 
eyes most upon him, nor did Nicocles less observe his mo- 
tions, but secretly spied and watched him, not out of appre- 
hension of any such considerable or utterly audacious 
attempt, but suspecting he held correspondence with the 
kings, who were his father's friends and acquaintance. 
And indeed, Aratus first attempted this way; but finding 
that Antigonus, who had promised fair, neglected him and 
delayed the time, and that his hopes from Egypt and Ptolemy 
[II] were long to wait for, he determined to cut off the 
tyrant by himself. 

And first he broke his mind to Aristomachus and Ecdelus, 
the one an exile of Sicyon, the other, Ecdelus, an Arcadian 
of Megalopolis, a philosopher, and a man of action, having 
been the familiar friend of Arcesilaus the Academic at 


Athens. These readily consenting he communicated with 
the other exiles, whereof some few, being ashamed to seem 
to despair of success, engaged in the design; but most of 
them endeavored to divert him from his purpose, as one 
that for want of experience was too rash and daring. 

Whilst he was consulting to seize -upon some post in 
Sicyonia, from whence he might make war upon the tyrant, 
there came to Argos a certain Sicyonian, newly escaped out 
of prison, brother to Xenocles, one of the exiles, who being 
by him presented to Aratus informed him, that that part of 
the wall over which he escaped, was, inside, almost level 
with the ground, adjoining a rocky and elevated place, and 
that from the outside it might be scaled with ladders. 
Aratus, hearing this, dispatches away Xenocles with two 
of his own servants, Seuthas and Technon, to view the wall, 
resolving, if possible, secretly and with one risk to hazard 
all on a single trial, rather than carry on a contest as a 
private man against a tyrant by long war and open force. 
Xenocles, therefore, with his companions, returning, having 
taken the height of the wall, and declaring the place not 
to be impossible or indeed difficult to get over, but that it 
was not easy to approach it undiscovered, by reason of some 
small but uncommonly savage and noisy dogs belonging to 
a gardener hard by, he immediately undertook the business. 

Now the preparation of arms gave no jealousy, because 
robberies and petty forays were at that time common every- 
where between one set of people and another; and for the 
ladders, Euphranor, the machine maker, made them openly, 
his trade rendering him unsuspected, though one of the 
exiles. As for men, each of his friends in Argos furnished 
him with ten apiece out of those few they had, and he 
armed thirty of his own servants, and hired some few 
soldiers of Xenophilus, the chief of the robber captains, to 
whom it was given out that they were to march into the 
territory of Sicyon to seize the king's stud ; most of them 


were sent before, in small parties, to the tower of Polygnotus, 
with orders to wait there; Caphisias also was dispatched 
beforehand lightly armed, with four others, who were, as 
soon as it was dark, to come to the gardener's house, pre- 
tending to be travelers, and, procuring their lodging there, 
to shut up him and his dogs ; for there was no other way of 
getting past. And for the ladders, they had been made to 
take in pieces, and were put into chests, and sent before 
hidden upon wagons. In the meantime, some of the spies 
of Nicocles appearing in Argos, and being said to go pri- 
vately about watching Aratus, he came early in the morning 
into the market place, showing himself openly and convers- 
ing with his friends ; then he anointed himself in the ex- 
ercise ground, and, taking with him thence some of the 
young men that used to drink and spend their time with 
him, he went home; and presently after several of his 
servants were seen about the market place, one carrying 
garlands, another buying flambeaus, and a third speaking 
to the women that used to sing and play at banquets, all 
which things the spies observing were deceived, and said 
laughing to one another, "Certainly nothing can be more 
timorous than a tyrant, if Nicocles, being master of so great 
a city and so numerous a force, stands in fear of a youth 
that spends what he has to subsist upon in his banishment 
in pleasure and day debauches " ; and, being thus imposed 
upon, they returned home. 

But Aratus, departing immediately after his morning 
meal, and coining to his soldiers at Polygnotus' s tower, led 
them to Neinea; where he disclosed, to most of them for 
the first time, his true design, making them large promises 
and fair speeches, and marched towards the city, giving for 
the word " Apollo Victorious," proportioning his march to the 
motion of the moon, so as to have the benefit of her light 
upon the way, and to be in the garden, which was close to 
the wall, just as she was setting. Here Caphisias came to 


him, who had not secured the dogs, which had rim away 
before he could catch them, but had only made sure of the 
gardener. Upon which most of the company being out of 
heart and desiring to retreat, Aratus encouraged them to go 
on, promising to retire in case the dogs were too trouble- 
some; and at the same time sending forward those that 
carried the ladders, conducted by Ecdelus and Mnasitheus, 
he followed them himself leisurely, the dogs already bark- 
ing yery loud and following the steps of Ecdelus and his 
companions. However, they got to the wall, and reared the 
ladders with safety. But as the foremost men were mount- 
ing them, the captain of the watch that was to be relieved 
. by the morning guard passed on his way with the bell, and 
there were many lights, and a noise of people coming up. 
Hearing which, they clapt themselves close to the ladders, 
and so were unobserved 5 but as the other watch also was 
coming up to meet this, they were in extreme danger of 
being discovered. But when this also went by without 
observing them, immediately Mnasitheus and Ecdelus got 
upon the wall, and, possessing themselves of the approaches 
inside and out, sent away Technon to Aratus, desiring him 
to make all the haste he could. 

Now there was no great distance from, the garden to the 
wall and to the tower, in which latter a large hound was 
kept. The hound did not hear their steps of himself, 
whether that he were naturally drowsy, or overwearied the 
day before, but, the gardener's curs awaking him, he first 
began to growl and grumble in response, and then as they 
passed by to bark out aloud. And the barking was now so 
great that the sentinel opposite shouted out to the dog's 
keeper to know why the dog kept such a barking, and 
whether anything was the matter; who answered that it 
was nothing, but only that his dog had been set barking by 
the lights of the watch and the noise of the bell. This reply 
much encouraged Aratus's soldiers, who thought the dog's 


keeper was privy to their design, and wished to conceal 
what was passing, and that many others in the city were of 
the conspiracy. But when they came to scale the wall, the 
attempt then appeared both to require time and to be full 
of danger, for the ladders shook and tottered extremely un- 
less they mounted them leisurely and one by one, and time 
pressed, for the cocks began to crow, and the country people 
that used to bring things to the market would be coming to 
the town directly. Therefore Aratus made haste to get up 
himself, forty only of the company being already upon the 
wall, and, staying but for a few more of those that were 
below, he made straight to the tyrant's house and the gen- 
eral's office, where the mercenary soldiers passed the night, 
and, coming suddenly upon them, and taking them prisoners 
without killing any one of them, he immediately sent to all 
his friends in their houses to desire them to come to him, 
which they did from all quarters. By this time the day 
began to break, and the theater was filled with a multitude 
that were held in suspense by uncertain reports and knew 
nothing distinctly of what had happened, until a public 
crier came forward and proclaimed that " Aratus, the son of 
Clinias, invited the citizens to recover their liberty." 

Then at last assured that what they so long looked for 
was come to pass, they passed in throngs to the tyrant's 
gates to set them on fire. And such a flame was kindled, 
that it was seen as far as Corinth ; so that the Corinthians, 
wondering what could be the matter, were upon the point 
of coming to their assistance. Nicocles fled away secretly 
out of the city by means of underground passages, and the 
soldiers, helping the Sicyonians to quench the fire, plundered 
the house. This Aratus hindered not, but divided also the 
rest of the riches of the tyrants amongst the citizens. In 
this exploit, not one of those engaged in it was slain, nor 
any of the contrary party, fortune so ordering the action as 
to make it clear and free from civil bloodshed. 




All values are highly approximate. 
OM [silver; after about 400 B.C., copper also], 3 cents. 
Drachma [=6 obols, silver], 18 cents. 
Mina [= 100 drachmae, money of account only], $18. 
Talent [= 60 minse, silver] , $ 1080. 

Roughly speaking, a talent equals $ 1000. Money in the 
JEgenetan standard about 37% heavier than Attic. 
Dario [Persian gold coin, common in Greece], $ 5.40. 


Chcenfa = 1 quart (nearly). 
Medimnos=. 11 J gallons. 


Greek foot (Pous) = .97 English feet* 
Pkthrum = 97 feet. 

Stadium = 582 \ feet. 

[Stadium was 600 Greek feet ; roughly mile.] 
Cubit [Oriental measure, distance from elbow to end of middle 
finger] = about 18 inches. 



Where no translator is named tlie author of this book is responsible 
for the translation given ; and in many other cases the original trans- 
lation has been substantially recast. 

Aristophanes : Comedies. 2 vols. Bohn's Library. London. 

Aristotle: Constitution of Athens. F. J. Kenyon's translation. 
London, 1895. 

Arrian : Anabaw of Alexander. Bohn's Library. London. 1 

Athenaeus: Deipnosopliists. 3 vols. Bohn's Library. London. 

Breasted (J. H.) : History of Egypt. New York, 1905. 

Cleanthes: Hymn. Translated by Professor G. H. Palmer. Re- 
printed here by special permission. 

Demosthenes: Orations. 4 vols. Bohn's Library. London. 

Djlogenes Laertius : Lives of the Philosophers. Bohn's Library. 

Ebers (George): Uarda (a novel), translated from the German. 
New York, 1908 (and other editions). 

Euripides: Tragedies. A. S. Way's translation. 3 vols. London, 

Felton (C. C.) : Ancient and Modern Greece. 2 vols. Boston, 

Freeman (K. J.) : Schools of Hellas. London, 1908, 

Grote : History of Greece. (See "Critical Bibliography,") 

Hastings (J.) : Dictionary of ike Bible. 5 vols. London and New 
York, 1898. 

Hawes (C. H. and C. B.) : Crete, the Forerunner of Greece. London, 

Herodotus r History. George Rawlinson, translator, 4 vols. Lon- 
don, 1862. (Many later editions.) s 

1 Many of these Bohn translations are not recent (dating from before 
1850) and need replacing with others more correct and elegant. These 
.have never been used in this work without revision and recasting of the 
language. The translation of Arrian (by E. J. Chinnock, 1893) *s one of 
the latest, and is among the very best of the collection. 

2 The original edition of Rawlinson's Herodotus is expensive, and has 
many lengthy notes and excursuses. For school purposes a sufficient sub- 



Hesiod : Poems. Bonn's Library. London. 

Homeric Poets. Buckley's translation. (Included in the Bohn 
Library edition of the Odyssey.) London. 

Iliad. Lang, Leaf, and Myers* translation. London, 1882. (The 
best prose translation.) 

Justin : History. Bonn's Library. London. 

Maspero: Ancient Egypt and Assyria. London, 1892. 

Nepos : Lives. Bonn's Library. London. 

Odyssey : Butcher and Lang's translation. London, 1882. 

Pausanias: Description of Greece. J. C. Frazier's translation. 
6 vols. London, 1898. 

Plato: Dialogues. B. Jowett's translation. 5 vols.; also in 4 vols. 
London and New York. (A classic translation.) 

Plutarch: Lives of Illustrious Men. The "Dryrten" translation 
revised by dough. 4 vols. London and New York. (Many 
editions. On the whole the best of several very fair trans- 

Polybius : History. E. S. Shuckburgh's translation. 2 vols. Lon- 
don, 1889. 

Records of the Past. 1st Series, 6 vols. London, 1880. 2d Series, 
6 vols. London, 1890. 

Sacred Books of the East. Vol. III. James Dannesteter's transla- 
tion. Oxford, 1883. 

Strabo : Geography. Bonn's Library. 8 vols. London. 

Theognis : Poems. Bonn's Library. London. 

Thucydides: History. B. Jowett's translation. 2 vols. New 
York. (An admirable version.) 

Xenophon: Works. H. G. Dakyn's translation. 5 vols. London, 
1897. (Far superior to the old Bohn version.) 

Zend A vesta. Chr. Bartholomse's German translations in his 
Arische Forsclmngen. 3 vols. Halle, 1886-1887. 

stitute can be found in the cheap reprint in the admirable " Everyman's 
Library" (Button & Co., N.Y.). This gives the complete text with only 
the most necessary notes. 


No attempt is here made to prepare a complete list of all worthy 
books on Greek history. The works named are merely those most 
likely to appeal to the inexperienced student, and no book is men- 
tioned which has not been examined in its entirety with this end in 
view. A great many important essays, the appreciation whereof 
would call for considerable previous knowledge, have been omitted. 
On numerous topics the best treatises in English are inferior to those 
in French and in German. 


This whole subject involves the. critical study of Oriental languages, 
and has peculiar problems contained in a vast technical literature. 
Owing to constant archaeological discoveries, books on the Old Orient 
become out of date very rapidly. Only a few books, likely to be use- 
ful to the general student, are here mentioned. 

The Old Orient as a Whole. 

Maspero, G.: The Dawn of Civilization (to 1600 B.C.). Appleton, 

. 1896. The Struggle of the Nations (to 860 B.C.). 

Appleton, 1897. The Passing of the Empires (to the 

Conquest of the Orient by the Greeks). Appleton, 1900. 

These works translated from the French are, on the whole, 
the best things we possess on the ancient Oriental monarchies. 
They supersede such an older writer as Eawlinson. They 
are elegantly illustrated and quite readable. The author had 
a more comprehensive knowledge of Egypt than of Babylonia 
and Assyria, but in everything save a few points, where very 
recent discoveries have been made, he may be trusted. 
Maspero, G.: Life in Andent Egypt and Assyria. Appleton, 1892. 

Cleverly drawn pictures of life in Egypt in the days of 
Barneses II, and in Assyria in the days of Assurbanipal. 
This gives a better idea of how the people lived, the kings, 
their court, warfare, etc., than any other short treatise. 


Ancient Egypt. 

Baikie, James : The Story of the Pharaohs. Macmillan, 1908. 

An interesting and up-to-date narrative, in moderate com- 

Breasted, J. H. s History of Egypt. Scribner's, 1909. 

The best and most recent work on the subject. Scholarly, 
well written, and well illustrated. There is a smaller history 
of Egypt by the same author that will suffice for most gen- 
eral readers. 

Erman, A.: Life in Ancient Egypt. Macmillan, 1894. Out of 

An elaborate work translated from the German. Almost 
eveiy possible topic relating to ancient Egypt is well handled. 
The -volume is a perfect mine of valuable information. 

Ancient Babylonia, Assyria, Media, and Persia. 

Goodspeed, G. S.: History of the Babylonians and Assyrians. 
Scribner's, 1902. 
A good short history. 

Ragozin, Z. A.: The Story of Chaldea. Putnam's, 1886. 

The JStory of Assyria. Putnam's, 1887. The Story of 
Media, Babylon, and Persia. Putnam's, 1888. 

The authoress of these books is not a learned Orientalist, 
but she has made excellent use of the technical writings of 
the experts, and she has written three books that, taken to- 
gether, make a thoroughly understandable and usable history 
of the great nations of the Tigro-Euphrates region, from the 
beginning of Chaldean history down to the battle of Marathon. 
For the uninitiated reader perhaps more will be gained from 
these books than from any others on the subject. 

Rogers, R. W.: History of Babylonia and Assyria. Eaton and 
Mains, 1900. 2 vols. ' 
A scholarly and useful work. 

Sayce, A. H.: Babylonians and Assyrian*; Life and Customs. 
Scribner's, 1899. 

A good assembling of our information on a rather ob- 
scure subject. 



Standard Histories. 

Bury, J. B. : History of Greece. Macmillan, 1900. 

This is by far the best single-volume history of Greece we 
possess. The book is the result of the ripe learning of a 
great English scholar. Thanks to skillful condensation, a 
great body of fact has been packed into a single volume, and 
the story has been skillfully told. All the results of modern 
scholarship, up to the time of publication, are summarized. 
No historical library should lack this book. 

Curtius, Ernest : History of Greece* 5 vols. Scribner's, 1870- 

The author was a learned German archaeologist and art 
' critic. Unlike many of his countrymen, he wrote with im- 
agination and enthusiasm, as well as erudition. The opening 
chapters of his work rest on theories which have proven un- 
tenable ; but the remainder of the hictory is still sound. This 
is the most interesting of all the larger histories of Greece. 
No other author has so clear a conception of what the land, 
atmosphere, and general physical environment of the Greek 
peninsula did for its inhabitants. The work stops with 
338 B.O. 

Grote, George: History of Greece. 12 vols. Several editions, an 
excellent and cheap one being in "Everyman's Library," 
Button & Co. 

This is the greatest history of Greece ever written. De- 
spite the fact that it was first published over half a century 
ago, the greater part remains of very high value. The author 
was an English scholar and statesman of no mean ability. 
He wrote with a ieeling of intense admiration for Athens and 
the Athenian democracy ; and with considerable spirit and 
literary charm. The earlier volumes having to do with the 
dawn of Greek history have been corrected by later discover- 
ies, and the treatment awarded Philip and Alexander of Mace- 
don is hardly just; but with these deductions the whole 
work can be read with great profit. It closes with the death 
of Alexander. 

Holm, Adolph : History of Greece. 4 vols. Macmillan. 

: A recent German work, on the whole embodying most of 
the conclusions of modern scholars. The judgments are 


sound, and the statements of fact usually clear, but the work 
resembles many other recent products of German scholarship 
in an utter absence of any skill in expression or narration. 
It is, therefore, very unsatisfactory to young students, though 
mature ones can use it with great profit. The fourth volume 
gives the best account we have of the history of Greece from 
the death of Alexander to the Roman conquest. 

Topics connected with Greek History. 

Hawes, C. H. and H. B. : Crete, the Fore-runner of Greece. Har- 
per's, 1909. 

A clear and informing summary of the recent discoveries 
in Crete, which have forced us to reconstruct our concept of 
the earliest JEgean civilization. 
Baikie, James : The Sea Kings of Crete. Macmillan, 1910. 

A larger work than that by Hawes, covering about the 
same ground, but in ampler detail and with good illustrations. 
Scholarly, but not too learned to be interesting. 
Fowler, H. N., and Wheeler, J. R. : Greek Archeology. Ameri- 
can Book Company, 1909. 

A highly useful compendium of our knowledge of Greek 
architecture, sculpture, terra cottas, coinage, vases, etc. , mat- 
ters which, while not strictly history, no historical student 
can afford to ignore. 

Gardner, P., and Jevons, F. B. : Manual of Greek Antiquities. 
Scribner's, 1898. 

Practically every phase of Greek life public and private, 
secular and religious is considered in this book. The 
scholarship is excellent, though the literary treatment is de- 
cidedly uneven. 

Whibley, L.: Companion to Greek Studies. Cambridge Press, 

A composite work, edited by an able English scholar. A 
vast deal of information on every possible subject connected 
with Greece and its people is conveyed in a very compressed, 
yet lucid form. On the whole a better book for the average 
scholar than the preceding. It should be in every good 
classical library. 

Harrison, Jane E. : The Religion of Ancient Greece. Open Court 
Publishing Company, 1905. 


An extremely brief, but almost equally enlightening, essay 
by a well-known authority on the Greek Religion^ which she 
ably points out was by no means identical with the Greek 

Fairbanks, Arthur : A Handbook of Greek Religion. American 
Book Company, 1910. 

This is undoubtedly the standard book upon the subject in 
the English language. 

Richardson, R, B. : A History of Greek Sculpture. American 
Book Company, 1911. 

Of all the numerous works on Greek sculpture, this is the 
latest, and probably for the average student the most useful. 
Good illustrations. 

Mahaffy, J. P. : Social Life in Greece (to the age of Alexander). 
Macmillan, 1874. Greek Life and Thought (from 

Alexander to the Roman Conquest). Macmillan, 1887. 

These are the books of a learned, clever, and withal highly 
pugnacious Irish scholar. As a result they are very interest- 
ing reading. Even when Professor Mahaffy is uttering opin- 
ions from which the critics dissent, his views are worth 
considering. The books treat more of the social and literary 
life of the times than the political, but no student can afford 
to ignore them. 

Mahaffy, J. P.: Story of Alexander's Empire. Putnam's, 1887. 

Tells the story of later Greece from the coming of Philip 
of Macedon down to the Roman Conquest. The " cultural " 
side of the picture is better done than the political side. On 
the whole this is the only account of the later Hellenes in the 
English language which is worth considering, saving always 
the -fourth volume of Holm's history. 

Gulick, Charles B. : The Lye of the Ancient Greeks. Appleton, 

This is probably the best of several very good discussions 
of Greek private life. Similar works by Tucker and Blumner 
are commendable. 

Zimmern, Alfred E. : The Greek Commonwealth. Oxford Press, 

A stimulating, interesting, and decidedly original essay 
upon "Politics and Economics in Fifth-Century Athens." 


Felton, C. C. : Lectures on Ancient and Modern Greece. Hough- 
ton, Mifflin, 1866. 

The author was a president of Harvard College. Although 
many years now have elapsed since these lectures were given 
in Boston, they remain among the most informing and en- 
lightening essays we have for the ''general reader" as to 
things Greek. Recent research makes corrections desirable 
on a few rather minor points, but in the main the lectures 
may be read through with great interest and profit. The 
parts dealing with the literature and the private life are 
especially good ; and the lectures on the modern Greek War 
of Independence are also interesting. The work stands as 
a notable refutation of the prevailing idea that a new his- 
torical book must be better than an old one* 

Murray, 6. : The Rise of the Greek Epic. Oxford Press, 1907. 

Of all the numerous books, radical and conservative, that 
deal with the mooted question of the authorship of the 
Homeric poems, this is probably the one from which the 
nontechnical reader will gain the most. Some of the sec- 
tions on the Homeric life and on the evolution of the Greece 
of history from out the chaos of races around the JEgean are 
extremely valuable. 

Allinson, F. 6. and A. C. E. : Greek Lands and Letters. Hough- 
ton, Mifflin, 1909. 

Descriptions of modern Greek countries and of archaeolog- 
ical finds, blended with ipt literary characterizations. The 
authors show clearly how much local environment helped 
the Greeks to develop their civilization, and the book aids 
the reader to catch something of the Hellenic " atmosphere " 
and color which makes the JEgean region notable among all 

Gilbert, G. : Greek Constitutional Antiquities. Macmillan, 1895, 

Translated from the German. A standard and exhaustive 
treatise on the governments of Athens and Sparta. 
Lloyd, W. W. : The Age of Pericles. 2 vols. Macmillan, 1876. 

A careful, thorough discussion of almost all phases of the 
"great" Athenian age, although literary skill is lacking. 


Ridgeway, Wm. : The Early Age of Greece. Cambridge Press, 
1901. 2vols, 

A very careful and learned study of a difficult subject. 
Unfortunately the recent discoveries in Crete make many of 
the conclusions somewhat debatable. 

Schuchhardt, C. : Schliemann's Excavations. Macmillan, 1891. 

A good summary of the story of the excavation of Troy, 
Mycene, etc., and of the beginning of the great archaeological 
campaign, which has added so vastly to our knowledge of 
early Greece. 

Biographies of Greeks. 

Abbott, E.: Pericles. 
Putnam's, 1897. 

Wheeler, B. I. : Alexander the Great. Putnam's, 1900. 

This and the preceding volume are two good standard biog- 
raphies in the well-known '* Heroes of the Nation " Series. 

Dodge, T. A.: Alexander the Great. Houghton, Mifflin, 1890. 

An excellent biography from the military point of Tiew : 
rather "wanting in appreciation of Alexander as a constructive 
force in history. 

Hogarth, D. G. : Philip and Alexander of Macedon. Scribner 1 s, 

An interestingly written sketch of the two great Macedo- 
nians. The author has a due appreciation of their work, 
and especially is careful to see that the genius of Philip is 
not overshadowed by his more brilliant son. 


In this list are included brief notices of most of the regular Greek 
and Latin authors from whose works excerpts have been taken, but no 
attempt has been made to include various obscure Christian chroni- 
clers, or to trace the authorship of Oriental inscriptions, etc. Many 
famous poets of antiquity, e.g. -SCschylus and Sophocles, are not men- 
tioned because no quotations are made from their writings. 

JEschines (389 to 814 B.C.). The leading orator of Athens in the 
fourth century B.C., saving only Demosthenes, and the latter's 
chief opponent. A man of remarkable eloquence; but his 
character as a patriot is open to criticism for his continual 
advocacy of the cause of Macedon. 

Aristophanes (444 to about 380 B.C.). The prince of the Athenian 
poets of the "Old Comedy/' i.e. comedy which was mainly 
concerned with comment and caricature touching the events 
of the day. Some of Aristophanes's plays were political, e.g. 
the Knights was especially directed against the demagogue 
Cleon ; others were devoted to social questions, e.g. the Clouds 
took up new educational theories and made a vicious attack 
upon the alleged evil doctrines of Socrates. The literary 
skill is of the very highest order, and the eleven comedies of 
Aristophanes which are preserved to us throw invaluable light 
upon almost all the problems and events of his day. 

Aristotle (384 to 322 B.C.). A native of Stagira in the Chalcidice, 
who spent much of his life at Athens, where he was the favorite 
pupil of Plato- Pbilip employed him as preceptor to his son 
Alexander. Aristotle was the most learned man and perhaps 
the greatest intellect produced by all antiquity, and no notice 
can be taken here of his mnitif arious activities. One of the 
great treasures which he bequeathed to posterity was his 
. treatise on The Constitution of Athens & work only recently 
rediscovered. Although this small book is not an infallible 
authority as against, e.g. the statements of Thucydides, it is 
always to be treated with the greatest respect* 


Airian (about 90 A.D. to about 170 A.D.), A Greek historian and 
philosopher of considerable ability. He was born in Bithynia, 
entered the Roman civil service, held important governorships, 
and in 146 A.D. was consul. His Life of Alexander is compiled 
from good contemporary sources, and is on the whole decidedly 
well written. It is the best biography we have of the great 

Athenaeus (wrote about 230 A.D.). A learned Grseco-Egyptian 
grammarian. In his "Banquet of the Learned" (Deipnos- 
ophists) he has strung together a vast quantity of fact and 
anecdote on a great many subjects, especially gastronomy. It 
is a frigid, fearfully erudite work, yet conveying considerable 

Cleanthes (about 800 to about 220 B.C.)* A distinguished Stoic 
philosopher ; although a native of the Troad, he spent much 
of his life at Athens. 

Demosthenes (3S5 to 322 B.C.). The story of his career is neces- 
sarily the whole story of the downfall of .the freedom of the 
Greek city-states. In judging him as an orator, it is to be 
remembered we can only read his orations. Much of their 
effectiveness undoubtedly came from his marvelous delivery. 
Considered as mere literary productions, they are models of 
well-displayed patriotism, clear thinking, clever turns of argu- 
ment, clothed with a remarkable majesty of language which 
never falls into bombast. 

Diodorus Siculus (lived in the age of Julius Csesar and Augustus). 
He was a Sicilian Greek, who compiled a large universal his- 
tory, covering almost everything from the period of myth 
down to his own. Only fifteen of his forty books are pre- 
served. He was a frigid writer, who borrowed from earlier 
historians with little discrimination and less literary skill; 
nevertheless, he has saved for us many facts not contained in 
any other surviving author. 

Diogenes Lagrtius (probably lived in second century A.D.). A 
Cilician Greek whose Lives of Philosophers gives a vast deal as 
to the personal careers of most of the famous thinkers of 
Hellas. In view of the loss of older and more complete works, 


his treatise is in valuable,, although he was not a writer of any 
deep insight or marked originality. 

Euripides (480 to 406 B.C.). The third in order of age of the great 
Attic tragedians. The others are, of course, JEschylus and 
Sophocles. He departed from the types of his predecessoi*s 
by representing men, as Aristotle suggests, "not as they ought 
to be, but as they are. He was the first prominent realist, 
and was bitterly assailed, both in his own age and of recent 
years, as too much given to a skeptical philosophy. Whatever 
be the facts, he remains one of the most brilliant luminaries of 
the " Age of Pericles." 

* Herodotus (484 to about 430 B.C.). The Father of History was 
a native of Halicarnassus, on the coast of Caria. He spent 
much of his earlier life in travel, visiting Egypt, Babylon, etc., 
and later seems to have stayed long in Athens, where lie was 
intimate with the great spirits poets, artists, philosophers 
who adorned the Age of Pericles. His history of the great 
conflict betwixt Persia and Hellas is really the first surviving 
piece of Greek prose. He is not critical in his use of data; 
often he displays a distinctly naive credulity, yet he aims 
throughout to be truthful, and in the main his history has run 
the gauntlet of modern criticism exceedingly well. To him 
the contest with the Persian deserved an epic, and his narra- 
tive is in some sense an epic poem, with charming digressions, 
dramatic climaxes, divine interventions and forewarnings, 
and the like. All things considered, Herodotus's story is the 
most readable history ever written, and possibly the most 
valuable in its subject matter. 

Hesiod (lived about 700 B.C.). Hesiod was claimed by the Greeks 
as the leading successor of Homer, and they named Ascra in 
Boeotia as his birthplace. He was probably an historical per- 
sonage, although little seems certain about him. His leading 
poems were the Works and Days, containing precepts on all 
kinds of subjects, and much discussion of the political 
and economic problems of the eighth century B.C., and the 
Theogony, a more genuinely poetical account of the origin of 
the world and the birth of the gods. 

Homer. The questions relating to the authorship of the Iliad and 


of the Odyssey are so complex that only a few prime points 
can be stated here : 

L Present-day scholars are agreed that these poems are not 
the original products of a "blind bard of Chios, whom the 
Greeks imagined lived about 1000 B.C. 

IL Most modern scholars believe that the poems, as we have 
them, are the product of a succession of minstrels ; and that they 
are the gradual outgrowth from various extremely old legends. 
First, a few single incidents about a war with Troy, and the 
return from Troy of Odysseus, were recited by the bards, then 
gradually perhaps by a process lasting several centuries 
they became elaborated and compacted into two long and 
fairly unified epics. 

III. It is probable that the Iliad as we have it is a 
considerably older poem than the Odyssey. 

IV. There is a fair degree of certainty that, back of the 
legend of the expedition of the Greeks to Troy, there lies a 
kernel of fact the destruction by attackers from across the 
JEgean of a great and ancient city by the Hellespont. 

Y. Somewhat less certainly it may be imagined that a single 
great personality^ possessed of a true poetic genius, put the 
various " sagas * together into the Iliad as we now have it ; this 
person would be the so-called " Homer.'* There is difficulty in 
conceiving that in any case the same person could have shaped 
both the Iliad and the Odyssey. 

Taking these epics as they stand, they are the first fruits 
of the developing genius of the Hellene. If the civilization 
producing them had been immediately afterward blotted out, 
it would nevertheless be rightly described as "great." 
ascriptions. A vast amount of our evidence for antiquity is 
"graven on the rock." Lacking our cheap paper, and with 
only an inferior substitute in papyrus or, later, in parchment 
(in Babylonia clay tablets were used), during the whole of 
antiquity men sought to perpetuate their documents and their 
own memory by elaborate inscriptions on the walls of Egyp- 
tian tombs, on the walls of Assyrian palaces, and on countless 
monuments and buildings in the Grseco-Koman age. Funeral 
inscriptions often exceedingly elaborate and recounting all 
the career and fortune of the deceased enable us to recon- 


struct much of the private life, especially of Egypt and of the 
Roman empire. Cities caused laws, treaties, etc., to be en- 
graved and set up in their temples, as did kings and emperors 
their edicts and rescripts. All in all, this inscriptional evi- 
dence constitutes a large fraction of our whole knowledge of 
ancient history, though its interpretation is often, a matter of 
extreme difficulty. 

Lysias (458 to 378 B.C.). He was born at Athens, hut his father 
was a Syracusan, and he was not, therefore, an Athenian citi- 
zen. He wrote a great number of orations usually for others 
to learn and deliver in their own behalf before the courts, 
although a few he seems to have spoken himself. His ora- 
tions sometimes lack force, but are distinguished by a remark* 
able clearness, grace, and elegance. 

Nepos (reign of Augustus). Cornelius Nepos was a friend of Cicero 
and of Cicero's famous correspondent, Atticus. He wrote a book 
of Lives of Distinguished Men, which seems of no very high 
literary excellence, though giving us a considerable body of 
facts. It is likely, however, that we have only an abridgment 
of the original work. 

Pausaniaa (lived under Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius). A 
traveler and geographer, who put posterity under a heavy 
debt by his Itinerary of Greece. He visited the country about 
170 A.D., when the memorials of the great past were still 
intact, and the local legends were still carefully cherished. 
These he placed with some faithfulness and minuteness in his 
book. His work has obscurities and blunders, but is a perfect 
mine of information to the archaeologist. 

Pindar (522 to about 442 B.C.). The greatest lyric poet of Greece, 
He was a native of Thebes. His choral odes in honor of 
special occasions, e.g. victories at Olympia and the other Pan** 
Hellenic games, were sought by cities and princes from all 
over the Greek world. Pindar's language is often extremely 
forced and archaic, his meters highly involved, but his poetry, 
both in loftiness of thought and elegance of expression, prob- 
ably represents the highest point reached by the Greek mind 
before the development of the great intellectual luminaries ol 
Athens in the Age of Pericles." 


Plato (429 to 847 B.C.). An Athenian and the favorite among the 
pupils of Socrates. He possessed wealth and a noble lineage, 
and probably had he lived half a century earlier, he would 
have developed into a distinguished poet. As it was, his 
poetic instinct clothes his philosophic Dialogues with a literary 
charm which combined with the actual ideas expressed 
makes them among the chief treasures transmitted to us by 
the Greeks* In his shorter and earlier dialogues, it is fair to 
assume he is faithfully reporting Socrates, whenever that 
master is represented as speaking* In the later ones, Plato is 
making Socrates merely the mouthpiece for his own ideas. 
Plato spent most of his life teaching in the famous gymna- 
sium of the Academy, consequently his school was called the 
" Academic." 

Plutarch (about 50 A.D. to about 120 A.D.). A Greek of Chsero- 
neia in Boeotia, and perhaps the most widely known writer of 
the whole Imperial period. He made visits to Rome, but 
spent most of his time in the little town in Boeotia, where he 
held various local offices. He was not an original thinker, 
but he seems to have represented the old pagan ideals and 
morality at their best, and he' was wonderfully successful in 
casting the opinions and writings of others into lucid and 
highly interesting prose. His Parallel Lives (a Greek and a 
Roman) are the ablest set of biographies ever composed, 
despite the fact, that they were written rather to edify by 
noble examples than to pass as critical history. His extensive 
ethical writings, the Morals, although less popular, are dis- 
tinguished by a sane and practical view of life which makes 
them admirable reading even after nineteen centuries. 

Polybius. See Biographical Note in Vol. II. 

Strabo (about 54 B.C. to about 24 A.D.). A Greek of Pontus who 
wrote a Geography that is a real gazetteer of the world in the 
days of Augustus. It is written with considerable literary 
grace and critical insight and is the source of much incidental 
historical and archaeological information. He lived some 
years in Rome, and seems to have traveled through many of 
the countries which he describes. His work is of very high 


Theognis (active about 580 B.C. or somewhat later (?); dates 
uncertain). A famous poet of Megara, who was driven into 
exile by the democratic upheavals in his native city. His 
elegiac poems are infused with a keen worldly wisdom and 
appreciation of the evils of his times, and their pithy didactic 
quality made them favorites with Greek schoolmasters for 
memorizing by their pupils. 

Thucydides (471 to about 401 B.C.). An Athenian, who grew up 
amid the choice intellectual circle surrounding Pericles, whom 
he vastly admired. When the Peloponnesian war began, he 
conceived the idea of writing a "Modern History," to set forth 
impartially and accurately all that came to pass. Later as an 
exile at Sparta, he was able to secure the Lacedaemonian side 
of the great story. He executed his purpose with remarkable 
fidelity and precision. His history, telling the story of the 
war and its preliminaries down to 411 B.C., is one of the most 
satisfying ever written. Even where he can be suspected of 
error or bias, the proof thereof is seldom satisfactory; and at 
times he rises to a remarkable height of lofty and truly stir* 
ring narration. Thucydides is a model for every modern his- 

Xenophon (about 444 to about 355 B.C.). An Athenian who was 
among the intimate friends of Socrates. He went on the 
famous " March of the Ten Thousand Greeks M under Cyrus 
the Younger, and became the leader upon the retreat. Being 
banished from Athens, he spent much of his life at Sparta, 
where he contracted close friendship with King Agesilaus and 
others, and he continued a " Laconophile " all his life. He 
was an extremely versatile writer. His Memorabilia (anec- 
dotes and conversations of Socrates), his Anabasis (story of 
the Great March), and his Hellenica (continuation of Thucyd- 
ides down to 362 B.C.) are only part of his productions. As 
a historian he has considerable merit, though incomparably 
inferior to Thucydides. His (Economicus is one of his semi- 
philosophical writings, setting forth that there is a true and 
separate art relating to the management of homes and private